Traffic Safety Initiative Starts Wednesday
By Era Sundar
Starting Wednesday, APD will launch its sixth annual holiday traffic initiative aimed at increasing pedestrian and traffic safety. The initiative runs through Jan. 1.
“All members of the department from the chief on down to the youngest rookie, all detectives, all members of this department that wear a badge will work traffic enforcement,” Police Chief Art Acevedo said.
Officers will step up enforcement of traffic laws and target speeders, drunk drivers, jaywalkers, and even people who are walking around drunk. Several pedestrians killed this year were publicly intoxicated.
“If we let somebody walk away that we know is intoxicated, we know that person could likely make a bad choice, walk out in front of a car and end up on that list [of those killed in auto accidents],” said APD officer Justin Newsom.
This is the fifth year of APD’s Home for the Holidays traffic initiative. Most of the 18,000 traffic stops they recorded in prior years resulted in warnings. But because traffic deaths this year in Austin have reached record levels, Acevedo says there will be fewer warnings and more tickets. APD reports 68 traffic deaths so far this year.