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Norwalk Police Issue Few Tickets For Speeding

NORWALK, Conn. – A total of 15 citations were issued to motorists by Norwalk police Tuesday, incident logs show. But not one was issued for what is commonly known as speeding.

On Monday, 38 citations were issued to motorists. Two were for "traveling unreasonably fast," which carries a specific legal definition.

On Sunday, 26 citations were issued. One was for "reckless driving," an excessive speed offense.

On Saturday, 30 citations were issued. None was related to the speed of the vehicles.

These  figures support a contention made by David Marcus, a former Norwalk resident who created the blog Livable Norwalk , who was concerned about the safety of Norwalk streets.

"The data I have shows only two to three speeding tickets are issued by the Norwalk Police Department each day," he said in an e-mail in response to a spring motor vehicle intiativ e. "If, according to Sgt. (Lisa) Cotto, the police would ordinarily issue 75 citations over two days, does that mean the overwhelming number of citations are for something other than speeding?"

The answer, according to figures provided by former police Chief Harry Rilling, is "yes." Before leaving his job last week, Rilling provided the following statistics on speeding tickets issued in Norwalk:

• In 2009, there were 5,754 infractions issued; 509 were for excessive speed.

• In 2010, there were 6,528 infractions issued; 531 were for excessive speed.

• In 2011, there were 6,306 infractions; 248 were for excessive speed.

• In the first four months of 2012, there were 3,628 infractions; 310 were for excessive speed.

The most common infractions/citations issued are for excessive speed, lack of seat belt use, distracted driving and failure to obey stop signs or red lights, "not necessarily in that particular order," Rilling said.

The department takes reports of excessive speeding seriously, he said. Most enforcement efforts stem from complaints made by Norwalkers.

"When we get complaints, we send officers to conduct motor vehicle enforcement activities to determine how serious the problem is," he said in an email. "Many times an officer will spend six to seven hours, two or three days in a row and only find three or four vehicles in violation. Many times, it is someone who lives in the neighborhood."

Officers focus their attention on streets with high traffic and pedestrian volume, he said, adding that many seat belt and DUI checkpoints are held during the year. The motorcycle unit that was implemented last year is used primarily for motor vehicle enforcement, he said.

Some additional recent statistics:

According to the incident logs, on Tuesday there were:

  • Five operating an unregistered motor vehicle citations;
  • Four failure to obey signs and markings; and
  • One each of failure to drive in the proper lane, restricted turns failed signal, failure to illuminate rear plate, operating without a license, window tint, failure to obey a stop sign, no insurance, using/holding a cell phone and unsafe movement/stopped car.

On Monday, there were:

  • Five each of failure to obey signs and markings and failure to renew registration/operating unregistered motor vehicle;
  • Three each of failure to obey control signal and using/holding a cell phone;
  • Two each of failure to obey a stop sign, improper parking, operating out of license class, failure to carry registration/insurance card, operating with registration/license suspended/revoked, no insurance, and traveling unreasonably fast; and
  • One each of failure to display plate/sticker, misuse of a plate, operating without insurance, following too close and driving in right hand lane.

Of the two "traveling too fast" infractions, one was issued at 11:54 p.m. at Broad and Main streets. The other was issued at 12:37 p.m. at Strawberry Hill Avenue and William Street.

On Sunday, there were:

  • Seven failure to obey signs and markings;
  • Three each of failure to obey a stop sign and failure to renew registration/operating unregistered motor vehicle;
  • Two each of no insurance and improper muffler; and
  • One failure to obey control signal, operating with registration/license suspended/revoked, reckless driving, disobey signal officer first time, engaging pursuit, using handheld mobile device first offense, window tint without sticker, making improper turn, following too close and failure to have headlights lit.

The reckless driving citation was issued at 9:10 p.m. at 49 Meadow St.

On Saturday, there were:

  • Six failure to renew registration/operating unregistered motor vehicle;
  • Four using/holding cell phone;
  • Three each of failure to obey control signal and operating with registration/license suspended/revoked;
  • Two failure to obey signs and markings, failure to obey stop sign, operating without a license and failure to carry registration/insurance ID card; and
  • One each of failure to grant the right of way junction highway, following too close, Operating without carrying a license and no insurance.

By law, the fines collected through infractions issued by the Norwalk Police Department are sent to the state.

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