HARTFORD — Mayor Luke Bronin will convene a meeting on Thursday with regional and state leaders to discuss the recent spike in car accidents and to call for a coordinated strategy to reduce car thefts by juveniles and young adults, which have been a factor in a number of fatal or serious crashes.
“There’s been a disturbing spike in vehicle crashes with fatalities or serious injuries, even as we’ve had fewer accidents overall in Hartford. We’re particularly concerned about the role that both drugs and stolen vehicles are playing in these tragic incidents,” Bronin said. “Our Police Department is working hard to make our streets safer through increased speed and DUI enforcement, but we need to work together as a region and as a State to crack down on car thefts.”
Bronin also referred to the number of cars stolen from West Hartford and New Britain that were involved in crashes in Hartford. These car thefts, he said, comprised of a regional problem that demands close coordination between towns, as well as with the State Police and with State and federal prosecutors.
According to the Hartford Police Department, alcohol or other drugs played a role in at least half of the fatal accidents this year, and in two cases the vehicles involved were stolen.
In response to fatalities in January, the city increased its traffic enforcement this month, adding an additional roving DUI patrol and an additional speed enforcement patrol each weekend. The State Department of Transportation has also agreed to accelerate three $50,000 traffic-related grants the City was expecting this year, which will pay for additional details focused on speed enforcement, distracted driving, and “Click It or Ticket.”
The City will receive the first of those grants, for speed enforcement, in March.