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Somerville Had Fewer Serious Traffic Accidents in 2012

Serious traffic accidents in Somerville were down in Somerville in 2012, according to data from Somerville Police. Police Chief Tom Pasquarello announced on Wednesday that serious accidents were reduced by 23.8 percent in 2012.

Pasquarello links the reduction in accidents to the efforts of Somerville police. “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.

In 2011, there were 455 serious accidents in Somerville that resulted in personal injury or damage exceeding $1,000. In 2012, there were 350. These numbers don’t take into account crashes that occurred on state highways. Somerville had no motor-vehicle related fatalities in 2012.

Somerville police sought to improve the safety of city streets by focusing enforcement in areas where traffic accidents had occurred in the past. “Using smart enforcement to reduce accidents is making our streets safer for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians,” Pasquarello said. Somerville police issued 11,076 moving violations in 2012 compared to 8,239 in 2011.

A grant from the Governor’s Highway Safety Bureau helped the Somerville Police Traffic Unit to implement specialized enforcement measures, such as using plain clothes officers as pedestrians and looking for seat belt offenses by drivers who commit other violations. The Unit also focused on enforcing bicycle traffic safety rules. Pasquarello said of these measures, “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.”

Somerville police, in conjunction with the city’s Department of Public Works and Traffic and Parking Department, have also been analyzing whether roadway, signage, and signaling can make Somerville streets safer.

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Source: Police: Serious traffic accidents down in 2012, making Somerville safer, www.wickedlocal.com, January 17, 2013.

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