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Daily Pilot

No traffic deaths in Costa Mesa in 2012

By Jill Cowan and Lauren Williams

9:53 PM PST, January 3, 2013

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It was a safe year for those traveling through Costa Mesa.

The year 2012 marked the first since 1984 in which no traffic fatalities occurred.

Police attributed the benchmark to a combination of safer driving practices in the community, a partnership with the California Office of Traffic Safety, and inter-departmental teamwork within the city.

"We have periodic meetings where we as a Traffic Safety Bureau sit down with the Transportation Services Division and discuss problem spots and review accident patterns," said Costa Mesa Police Lt. Rob Sharpnack.

From there, he said, the city and police can implement projects to improve things like signal timing and signage.

"So in sum," Sharpnack said, "it's a team approach, which has proven effective and we hope to continue that into the future."

According to a news release, more than 1 million vehicles drive in Costa Mesa every day.

In 2010, five people died in Costa Mesa traffic incidents, and in 2011, one person died.

The number of DUI-related collisions has varied over the past three years. In 2012, there were 56 DUI-related collisions that resulted in injuries. In 2011, there were 62 and in 2010, 54 of them.

In 2012, Costa Mesa saw 118 DUI-related crashes that didn't result in injuries, 112 in 2011 and 143 in 2010.

Nearby Newport Beach had five fatal traffic collisions with five victims in 2012, and in 2011 had four fatal collisions with six victims.

For Costa Mesa though, 2013 might be a little less placid. A man died Thursday after going into cardiac arrest, then driving into the wall of a CVS store on Harbor Boulevard.

jill.cowan@latimes.com; lauren.williams@latimes.com

Twitter: @thedailypilot