NORTHAMPTON, Massachusetts (April 22, 2019) The Northampton Police Department was recently awarded a grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, Office of Grants and Research - Highway Safety Division (EOPSS/OGR/HSD) to improve traffic safety on local roads for pedestrians and bicyclists. In total, over $700,000 was awarded to 93 police departments across the Commonwealth, with funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
With nearly 6,000 pedestrians killed in 2016 across the country, pedestrians now account for a larger proportion (16%) of traffic fatalities than they have in the past 33 years. In Massachusetts, that rate is even higher, with pedestrians representing more than 20% of all traffic fatalities. Bicyclists are dying at higher rates nationally as well-the 840 killed in traffic crashes in 2016 are the most since 1991.
“Bicyclists and pedestrians are at risk to the motoring public because they may not be immediately visible to drivers and unlike those in vehicles, nothing protects them in a crash,” said Sgt. Brian Letzeisen. “We’ll use crash data and community input to identify crosswalks, intersections, and roadways where our enforcement efforts can yield the largest impact on pedestrian and bicyclist safety.”
Under the grant, departments will pay for overtime enforcement to increase compliance with traffic laws by all road users. Departments are also eligible to purchase equipment to enhance the visibility of crosswalks and to buy bicycle helmets.
According to NHTSA, 94% of crashes can be tied back to a human choice or error. We urge media to follow the AP Stylebook which suggests avoiding the word “accident” in reference to distracted, negligent, drunk or drugged crashes.