AVON — Chief Jeffrey Bukunt and the Avon Police Department would like to provide the community with an update on ways the department has addressed speed/traffic concerns in town recently.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s latest research suggests that throughout the pandemic and associated lockdowns, driving patterns and behaviors changed significantly, and that drivers who remained on the roads engaged in more risky behavior. This included speeding, failing to wear seat belts and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Traffic data indicates that average speeds increased throughout the year, and examples of extreme speeds became more common while the evidence also shows that fewer people involved in crashes wore their seat belts.
This dangerous and concerning trend is occurring at the national level. However, the Avon Police Department wishes to inform those who live in, work in or commute through Avon about some of the steps being taken to address this problem locally.
Of note, the 2020 Avon Police Quality of Service Survey revealed that traffic enforcement was the number one area of importance to Avon citizens. A number of advancements have been made to improve enforcement and give officers the tools necessary to do their job as effectively as possible. These include:
UPDATED BROWSERS: All Avon Police cruisers are now outfitted with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s electronic web browsers to allow for issuance of digital traffic citations (motorists will receive a printed copy on-scene). This state-of-the-art bar code system will reduce time, increase officer safety, streamline processing and reduce paper. The data will be instantly available to courts, the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the state’s Merit Rating Board, which compiles data on driving records.
TARGETED ENFORCEMENT: Over the past 12 months, Avon Police officers have conducted thousands of hours of targeted traffic enforcement, with well over 1,000 vehicle stops in Avon.
FOCUSED PATROLS: There has been an increase in focused patrols of student crosswalk activity, which coincided with the reopening of schools.
RADAR UNITS: This past spring, all Avon Police cruisers were outfitted with new state-of-the-art forward and rear facing radar units.
SPEED TRAILER: The Police Department has purchased a Radar-Speed Trailer, equipped with a Data Capture System to allow officers to analyze patterns and identify the most problematic areas or hot spots for enforcement strategies. APD will be able to capture vehicle speed, time of day, direction, length and count of approaching and departing traffic. The data is presented in interactive graphs that will allow for an efficient deployment of resources for targeted enforcement and to better respond to citizen complaints, identify needs for traffic controls and traffic planning/projects.
ROUTE 28 STUDY: Earlier this year, with strong support from the Avon Board of Selectmen and in collaboration with the Avon Public Works Director, the Town of Avon petitioned MassDOT District 5 with concerns over speeding, speed zones and sidewalk issues along Route 28. This successfully resulted in MassDOT’s commitment to a speed study by the District Traffic Section, which will be used to review and mitigate concerns about speeding vehicles and sidewalk issues along Route 28. A primary goal includes a reduced speed limit on Route 28 north of Memorial Drive.
“We take traffic enforcement very seriously, as what is most important to our residents is also most important to us,” Chief Bukunt said. “The best outcomes in traffic enforcement can be seen when you make traffic stops in the right places, at the right times, and for the right reasons. We will continue to listen to the concerns of our residents, embrace technology and data for a more efficient deployment of resources and to educate drivers on the dangers of risky behavior on our roadways.”
The Avon Police Department welcomes additional feedback and concerns from residents related to traffic enforcement. Residents are asked to contact the Avon Police Department directly with any questions or concerns relating to traffic or any other matter of concern, at 508-583-6677. Avon Police Special Projects Manager Sheri Carney can also be reached at email@example.com.