Springfield Police Department Shares PSA Video on Traffic Safety and New Enforcement Initiative

Springfield, Mass. — The Springfield Police Department has announced an enhanced traffic enforcement initiative and is sharing a public service announcement on the importance of driving safely.

The initiative was announced Thursday in response to multiple motor vehicle fatalities that have occurred in Springfield over the past few weeks, as well as in preparation for the upcoming holiday season.

The Springfield Police Department’s Traffic Unit, Metro Unit, Ordinance Unit and Squad Officers have begun a high visibility enforcement plan that will include an increase in officers watching specifically for traffic violations, message boards to inform drivers that there is speed enforcement ahead and a public service campaign announcing these details to deter drivers from speeding, driving recklessly or driving while distracted.

Throughout the holiday season, officers who are not responding to calls for service will position their marked cruisers on highly traveled roads with their blue lights on to indicate to drivers that they are conducting traffic enforcement.

The first enhanced enforcement effort took place along the State Street corridor today from 9 a.m. until noon. Officers issued 40 citations, eight criminal complaints and made one arrest for traffic offenses.

“We hope that this public service announcement and enforcement campaign will remind Springfield’s drivers about the importance of driving safely to protect themselves and others on the road, especially as we approach the holiday season,” Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood said. “Never drive while impaired or distracted and be sure to use extra caution when driving at night or during poor weather conditions. Our officers will be out on the road watching for dangerous driving to help ensure that everyone can get where they’re going safely.”

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno states, “I want to commend Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood and the dedicated men and women in Blue for their continued efforts in keep our streets safe. I was driving on State Street earlier this morning and I personally saw our SPD units out there letting their presence be known. Simply put, this is about saving lives.”

Always follow the posted speed limits. Speeding contributes to motor vehicle crashes in a number of ways, including reducing the driver’s ability to take turns or avoid obstacles/pedestrians in the roadway, making it more difficult to come to a complete stop in a variety of situations, increasing the likelihood a vehicle will skid or spin out of control during adverse weather conditions, and making it more difficult for other drivers to react as the vehicle approaches.

Even when following the speed limits, residents are reminded to keep in mind other factors that affect their safety when driving, such as road conditions, weather, road construction and lighting.

Fines for speeding begin at $105 for drivers going 1-10 miles per hour over the speed limit. These fines increase $10 for every additional mile per hour over the speed limit.

Always wear a seat belt. Buckling up helps keep you safe inside your vehicle and can protect you from being ejected from the vehicle in a crash, which is oftentimes deadly. Be sure to wear the seat belt correctly — it should go over your shoulder and across your lap. Improperly wearing a seat belt will not protect you during a crash.

Watch for pedestrians. Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk and never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk as there may be people crossing that you can’t see. Be especially careful around schools, residential neighborhoods, and near parks and playgrounds.

Pedestrians and bicyclists should make themselves visible at all times by wearing bright clothing during the day and using reflective materials or a flashlight at night. Never assume that a driver sees you — make eye contact with drivers as they approach to make sure you are seen.

Never drive if you have been drinking or are under the influence of drugs. Never get into a vehicle with a driver who is drunk or high. Designate a sober driver beforehand or plan to use public transportation or a ride share service to get home safely.

Don’t drive while distracted. Turn off electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting to drive. Be good role models for young drivers by setting a good example, and talk with teens about responsible driving.

Massachusetts law prohibits drivers from using their phone while driving, including writing, sending or reading electronic messages, using apps or browsing the internet while driving, even if stopped at a light or in traffic. Operators are permitted to use hands-free technology including Bluetooth, “single tap or swipe” to activate or deactivate hands-free mode, navigation technology mounted to the car’s dash and phone use in emergency situations. Drivers may use their phones if they are stationary and not in an active traffic lane. Drivers under 18 are prohibited entirely from using mobile phones and other electronic devices while driving.

The penalties for violating the hands free law are a $100 fine for the first offense, $250 fine for the second offense, and a $500 fine plus an insurance surcharge for the third and any subsequent offense.

Additional information on road safety can be found here.