That’s how Norwalk Police Chief Dave Light sees the significant increase in his officers issuing warnings in 2016. Police issued 353 more warnings last year compared to 2015, according to the annual report.
Light told city council at a recent meeting that even though Norwalk isn’t receiving as much revenue from issuing citations, police are sending the right message about motorist safety. He added that officers “are out there running traffic” on a regular basis.
In 2016, police issued 1,589 traffic citations — only 20 more than the previous year.
Officers handled 388 “street crashes” in 2016 compared to 365 in 2015. There were more private-property accidents in 2015 (57) in relation to last year (33).
Last year there was a significant rise in injury crashes from 2016 to 2015 — 82 last year compared to 50. There were no fatal crashes in each of those years in Norwalk.
Failure to maintain assured clear distance (aka ACDA) was the leading cause of crashes in 2016. There were 98 — eight more than the previous year.
Light said an ACDA crash usually happens when the driver is going too fast and there’s not enough space to stop for the vehicle ahead. The chief attributed the cause mostly to distracted driving, with motorists texting or using their phones.
The second cause of a crash in Norwalk in 2016 was failure to control. There were 71 compared to 49 in 2015. Light didn’t provide a reason for the increase.
Rounding out the cause of crashes in 2016 were: Failure to yield the right-of-way (36), improper backing (36) and stop sign violations (23).
The intersection with the most crashes last year was Benedict Avenue-Main Street-Whittlesey Avenue with nine. Eight crashes happened at the same location in 2015, which also made it the leading area that year.
The remaining intersections and the number of crashes there in 2016 were: League Street-Milan Avenue (seven), Westwind Drive-Milan (seven), Woodlawn Avenue-Old State Road (six), Benedict-Seminary Street (five), Main Street-Linwood Avenue (five), Milan-Republic Street (five) and Republic-Gallup Avenue (five).
Light said officers’ traffic enforcement is helping because the overall number of crashes last year (264) is much less than it was five or six years ago.