OAKLAND -- In a welcome piece of good news, Oakland has the lowest number of alcohol-involved collisions in the state and the fewest DUI-related arrests, according to a recently released study of the state's 13 biggest cities by the state's Office of Traffic Safety.
The city, however, didn't fare well when it came to hit-and-run and pedestrian collisions, coming in with the third-highest ratings, according to the study, which was based on numbers from agencies including the Department of Justice and the California Highway Patrol.
In Oakland, 312 DUI-related arrests were made in 2009 and 131 people were injured or killed in crashes in which alcohol was a factor, according to the study.
"We congratulate both the people of Oakland and the police department for having such a low DUI fatality figure. It's good news when you are the best in the state as far as fatalities and injuries go. The whole point of this is to save lives," said Chris Cochran of the Office of Traffic Safety.
The Oakland numbers did not include tickets given on the freeway, only tickets written by Oakland police on city streets. The study didn't have information on which geographical areas in Oakland saw the most tickets issued.
The number of collisions involving people who had been drinking was low, as well. Oakland ranked 10th out of the 13 cities ranked by population for collisions involving drivers between 21 and 34 years of age who had been drinking.
Oakland is active in a number of sobriety programs, including its partnership in Alameda County's "Avoid the 21" campaign. In cities throughout the county, officers from different police departments staff sobriety checkpoints, run DUI patrols and conduct local roving patrols.
The city did not fare as well with regard to hit-and-run collisions and those involving pedestrians and bicyclists. Out of the 13 biggest cities in the state ranked by average population, Oakland came in third for the most collisions in which pedestrians were hurt, fifth for bicycle-involved crashes and third for hit-and-run collisions.
"So many factors figure into hit-and-runs. Sometimes it is because the people have had their licenses revoked, or they may have warrants out for them for any number of crimes, so they run away," Cochran said. "Or it could be undocumented immigrants who don't want to get deported."
With regard to the number of bicycle and pedestrian crashes, the Oakland Police Department has a $491,305 grant from the traffic safety office that funds Oakland's Comprehensive Bicycle, Pedestrian and Child Passenger Safety Program.
The program includes bicycle helmet fittings and classroom workshops on bicycle safety.
Contact Janis Mara at 925-952-2671. Follow her at Twitter.com/jmara.