Auto accidents up this holiday season

By KAITLYN NAPLES
STAFF WRITER
Every holiday season police increase their efforts to urge drivers to exercise extra caution out on the roads. Although the messages of caution are sent out, accidents happen, 202 to be exact this year in Bristol between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
According to statistics provided by Lt. Edward Spyros at the Bristol Police Department, the number of accidents jumped from 183 to 202 as compared the same time span last year from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
“It is interesting that the number did go up,” Spyros said, adding he had no specific reason for this increase in accidents, and said it could just be an anomaly. One reason could be if there was an increase in bad weather. Spryos said accidents always increase during storms or weather including ice, rain and snow.
Of those accidents, 11 were with injuries, one up from last year’s 10 with injuries, and 143 without injuries, which is also an increase from last year’s 138. Bristol experienced 45 hit and run accidents this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, which is 10 more than last year. Also this year there were three pedestrians hit by vehicles between Thanksgiving and Christmas, however none were hit last year.
There were fewer driving while intoxicated arrests this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas with 10 this year, as opposed to the 15 last year during the same time. Spyros said he sees this as a good thing for the department, because the checkpoints that have been set up throughout the city are working.
“We received a grant that allowed us to do DWI patrols, and with that work we saw the number of arrests reduced,” so he said more drivers are aware that the police are out on the road cracking down on drinking and driving, Spyros said.
Connecticut State Police recently launched its 2013 Operation S.A.N.T.A., S-top A-nother N-eedless T-ragic A-ccident, which is its major holiday accident and injury prevention message. While the holiday season has recently come to an end, holiday parties and celebrations may still be occurring, which can include drivers getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.
In a press release, state police linked up to a list of patrols and safety checkpoints that would be happening throughout the state. The release also offered the following holiday enforcement statistics from Christmas and New Years of 2012:
“Accidents: 783, with injury: 79, Fatal accidents: 3, resulting in 4 deaths, DUI arrests: 73, Speeding arrests: 1,027, Seatbelt violations: 59, Hazardous Moving violations (follow too close, distracted driving, etc.): 1,986.”
Results from this year’s statistics at the state level were not available at press time.