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Contact: Mike Gauthier
Barstow, CA–Mojave National Preserve will begin an enhanced traffic safety and enforcement operations on March 24, 2022. The public safety program targets excessive speeding in order to reduce motor vehicle accidents, visitor fatalities, and impacts to desert tortoise, bighorn sheep, and other wildlife. The goal is to deter speeding, help prevent traffic accidents, and help protect wildlife that utilize road corridors as part of their natural habitat.
Law enforcement officers will be stationed throughout the preserve to enforce speed limits, seatbelt use, and detect distracted and impaired driving violations. Excessive speed is a major factor in vehicular crashes and fatalities. Over a 10-year period (2009-2018), at least 93 crashes were reported within the preserve. Of them, a total of 18 were severe or fatal and 75 crashes resulted in other injuries.
Excessive speed also kills desert tortoise–an iconic, charismatic, and federally protected species. At least 10 desert tortoises are killed every year by vehicles, which could ultimately lead to local population extinctions. Since the reproduction rate of the desert tortoise is low, the survival of every individual tortoise is important to the continuation of the species.
The fine for traffic violations including speeding in the park is up to $5000 dollars and up to 6 months in jail depending on the severity.
“Drive Like a Tortoise.” Help protect yourself, other visitors, and the desert tortoise by driving safely in Mojave National Preserve, stated Superintendent Mike Gauthier.
To learn more about tortoises, traffic, and how to you can drive safely this spring in Mojave, refer to the park website at https://www.nps.gov/moja/learn/nature/desert-tortoise.htm
Last updated: August 31, 2022