Residents say too much of a good time at the watering holes on Bank Street could be what lands New London on top of a recent Hartford Courant study by Stephen Busmeyer. The city experiences more than 4 1/2 times the amount of drunken driving crashes per mile than the average Connecticut town.
“I overlook Bank Street and see a DUI once a week, maybe twice a week. A lot of fights and stuff go on on Bank Street. There’s a lot of trouble down here,” said Thomas James O’Connor, a New London resident.
Police specifically point the street’s popularity and abundance of bars. They and people who live there also blame the one-way streets that pepper downtown.
“I’m that old where I can remember this was a two-way street and they turned it into a one-way street and you know, it makes it harder for people that don’t know their way around here,” said Michael Ladson.
The data also reveals the most crash-ridden stretch of the state lies on Interstate-95 between New Haven and New York. The 3.3-mile section around Stamford takes first on the danger zone list with 638 crashes per mile.
The most common cause of crashes: following too closely. The data shows it was the primary cause for about 115,000 crashes.
The finding wasn’t shocking to Lt. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police. He said troopers are always tracking traffic data to plan patrols for specific violations.
“A barracks commander or a district commander will look at accidents and find out that we’ve got a segment of road that we see too many DUI violations or accidents, and we concentrate on that area, and certainly New London County is the same situation,” said Vance.
In New London, where every five miles sees more than eight DUI accidents, some residents say they plan to pay closer attention.
“It’ll definitely make me think. You know, keep my eye out for it. I’m always keeping my eye out for the other guy, but apparently here, especially in the evening, got to keep a closer eye,” said O’Connor.