California Highway Patrol officers assigned to the Napa unit wrote almost 15 percent fewer citations in 2012 than in 2011.
At the same time, the number of traffic collisions with injuries in unincorporated Napa County decreased by 25 percent in 2012, while the total number of traffic collisions declined by 7 percent, the CHP reported.
Five people lost their lives on the roadways in unincorporated Napa County — or four fewer than a year before, according to the CHP.
These were among the annual statistics the CHP released recently for its Napa unit, whose officers patrol unincorporated roadways in Napa County and sections of Sonoma County.
CHP Officer Garrett Ray could not give a reason behind the drop in the number of citations issued by the Napa unit officers. The statistics provided include the number of citations issued in unincorporated Napa County and areas in south Sonoma County patrolled by officers assigned to the Napa unit.
Yet he noted the number of officers’ contacts and verbal warnings increased significantly in 2012.
Most of the 7,913 tickets issued in 2012 were for speed, seatbelt and driving under the influence violations, according to the CHP.
“We try to focus on things that cause injuries and death,” Ray said.
Of the 785 collisions the CHP reported in unincorporated Napa County in 2012, 306 involved at least one person injured, according to the statistics. There were 427 people injured on the roadways, or 28 percent fewer than the year before.
The highway patrol’s education efforts over the past year have included talks to winery employees, according to Ray. “I think the word is getting out,” he said.
CHP Officer Elon Steers, spokesman for the Golden Gate Division, said officers also do motor assists, including clearing debris and other roadway hazards.
“They’re working hard,” he said.
Among the people who were killed on Napa County’s unincorporated roadways in 2012 were two cyclists who died in Upvalley crashes.
In May, Alfredo Pedroza, 56, of Napa, was killed cycling on the Silverado Trail when a car allegedly drifted out of its lane, according to the CHP.
Then in August, Richard Becker, 54, of St. Helena, died at St. Helena Hospital about 90 minutes after colliding with a car at the intersection of Deer Park and Sanitarium roads.