The Town of Southold was awarded with the American Automobile Association’s Platinum Award in the Northeast’s Community Traffic Safety Awards Program in October.
“It means a lot to us because it’s from a combination of different programs that we participate in all year long with AAA,” Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley said.
AAA Northeast, the local AAA affiliate, presented a total of 55 awards throughout the lower New York region, but only six communities received the top Platinum status, according to a press release. Award levels include Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze.
The Town of Southold also received a citation for having three consecutive years with no pedestrian fatalities.
“To get to a Platinum Award, you have to have participated with enough different programs and report them back to them, so it’s a big deal for us since only six towns got it,” Chief Flatley said.
AAA gave Southold this award because of its efforts to combat driving and boating while intoxicated, establishing a Stop DWI/BWI Task Force and the use of checkpoints to curtail DWIs.
These measures resulted in the town reducing the number of DWI-related crashes, as well as more DWI arrests. In 2016, there was a total of 31 DWI crashes compared to 22 total in 2017, according to Chief Flatley. The police department also conducts numerous safety programs like car seat checks and bicycle safety programs.
“We’ve been participating with the program for a long time,” Chief Flatley said. “They’re very transparent and very active on the East End.”
Chief Flatley also said programs that helped them achieve this award were seatbelt enforcement, bus safety campaigns, and the annual campaign when schools start in September, urging residents to drive carefully.
“Each year, we get different plaques from them but this is the first year since I’ve been chief that we’ve been able to get the Platinum award,” he said.
“We would like to think that all of the AAA initiatives for traffic safety that we have participated in have a positive impact on the safety of our residents and visitors that traverse our roadways,” he added.