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Westford Police Department looks to limit distracted driving in April

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WESTFORD — The Westford Police Department is celebrating grant funding to increase traffic safety within town.

In November, the department received $20,750 in grant funding from the Office of Grants and Research. This funding is used for the Municipal Road Safety Program, a series of campaigns to increase education among motorists. 

Department holds month-long campaigns

The previous campaign in December aimed to tackle impaired driving during the holiday season. The current campaign, which is ongoing through April, aims to reduce distracted driving among motorists. 

Future campaigns include Click it or Ticket in May, Summer Speed in June and Summer Impaired Driving between Aug 12 and Sept. 15. The funds are divided evenly among the six campaigns, with $3,850 used to fund overtime for officers, and in some cases, equipment for each campaign. 

“It supplements the town’s overtime budget,” said Westford Police Department Captain James Peloquin. “They will reimburse overtime up to $3,850.” 

He continued, “A lot of it can be about equipment needs. We needed a radar, so they helped us out with it.” 

Departments looks to enforce violations 

Despite Massachusetts’ Hands Free Law which took effect in Feb. 2020 Peloquin notes the department has seen distracted motorists “a lot.” 

“A large part of it is education,” he said. “It can be extremely damaging to safety.” 

He continued, “whether it’s writing a warning or handing out a pamphlet, it’s one of the main components of the campaign.” 

Surrounding towns such as Groton and Ayer received similar grants, using portions of their funding for overtime enforcement of traffic laws pertaining to pedestrians and bicyclists. Groton received $12,842.81 while Ayer received $3,280. 

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Ben Domaingue
Ben Domaingue has previously worked at newspapers in New Hampshire and is a News Reporter covering Westford. He’s passionate about community journalism, photography and hiking.