Braintree 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, nearly $700,000 was awarded to 93 police departments across the Commonwealth, with funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
With close to 6,000 pedestrians killed in 2016 across the country, pedestrians now account for a larger proportion (16%) of traffic fatalities then 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. According to NHTSA, 94% of crashes can be tied back to a human choice or error.
“Bicyclists and pedestrians are at risk from the motoring public because they may not be immediately visible to drivers and unlike those in vehicles, nothing protects them in a crash,” said Interim Deputy Chief Sean Lydon. “We’ll analyze crash data 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 educational materials, bicycle helmets, and safety items to help enhance pedestrian and bicyclist visibility at night.
From April through September the Braintree Police Department will be performing community outreach and education to elementary and middle school students as well as enforcement at crosswalks throughout town.