Serious traffic accidents in Somerville were reduced by 23.8% in 2012, Chief Thomas Pasquarello announced today. “There appears to be a direct correlation between the sharp reduction in serious accidents and an aggressive effort by Somerville Police to step up traffic regulation enforcement in high-accident areas,” Pasquarello said.
Excluding crashes that occurred on state highways, in 2012 Somerville saw 350 serious accidents resulting in personal injury or damage in excess of $1,000. By comparison, there were 455 serious accidents in Somerville during 2011. Traffic volumes were comparable year to year. There were no motor-vehicle related fatalities in Somerville in 2012.
Over the past two years, the Somerville Police Department have launched a department-wide effort to improve safety on city streets by targeting enforcement in areas where and when past traffic accidents have occurred, especially those locations where accident investigations showed traffic violations were common contributing factors. The Somerville Police Department issued 11,076 moving violations in 2012 as compared with 8,239 in 2011. “Using smart enforcement to reduce accidents is making our streets safer for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians”, said Chief Pasquarello. Funded in part by a grant from the Governor’s Highway Safety Bureau, the Somerville Police Traffic Unit has conducted specialized enforcement targeting pedestrian violations using plain clothes officers as the pedestrians, and a campaign to look for seat belt offenses by drivers who commit other violations. The Traffic Unit also initiated a campaign to target safety traffic violations by bicycle riders as well as enforce traffic laws intended to protect bike riders.
The Police Department has also worked closely with the Traffic and Parking Department and the Department of Public Works to identify roadway, signaling and signage improvements that can increase safety on Somerville streets.
“The results speak for themselves,” said Pasquarello. “Enhanced traffic enforcement based on statistical analysis has significantly improved safety for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists across the city. In the year ahead, we plan to do even more with statistical analysis of trends and hot-spots, not only in the area of traffic enforcement, but in other areas of community policing.”
~The Somerville Police Department