WESTPORT, Conn. There are fewer car accidents in Westport now than there were 10 years ago, Deputy Police Chief Dale Call says. But the prevalence of online news sites and blogs in Westport, he said, makes it seem as if accidents are on the rise.
"Rather than an increase in either the number and/or severity of motor vehicles accidents the opposite is true," Call said in a statement Monday. "What has changed is the number of 'on-the-spot' news blogs today as opposed to the twice-weekly print media of a decade ago, providing a visible reminder to all motorists to pay attention and obey traffic laws."
Data from the Westport Police Department's Records Management System show that the number of reported car accidents has decreased by more than 22 percent from 2001 through 2010. The number of accidents during the same period that has resulted in injury to one or more vehicle occupants has dropped by 52 percent. Police enforcement the number of cars stopped and either ticketed or warned during this period has increased by 173 percent.
Call said car accident data is regularly reviewed by the department and that nearly a third of all accidents occur on the Post Road. "This is no surprise given the high volume of traffic combined with numerous shopping centers, intersections and driveways," he said.
The majority of these accidents, Call said, are the result of people following too closely or failing to grant the right of way.
Call said frequent accident areas are selectively patrolled, as are areas at which the public requests more enforcement, when possible. Whether a driver receives a ticket or a warning is up to each officer. There are no ticket quotas, he said.
"Every officer is responsible for patrolling his or her beat and handling calls for service in addition to enforcing traffic laws," Call said. "Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement where traffic safety is concerned, both in enforcement and in education, regardless of the statistical information."
What do you think are Westport's most accident-prone roads? Leave a comment below or email reporter Vanessa Inzitari at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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