Traffic safety is one of the main concerns for the Tupelo Police Department. The daytime population increases to over 100,000 people going to and from work. Traffic issues are further compounded by several organizational and civic events held throughout the year, as well as special events. That’s where our Traffic Division comes in.
The goals and objectives of the Tupelo Police Department’s Traffic Unit are to reduce the number and severity of traffic collisions in the City. This is done by working through a three-prong approach to traffic problems throughout the City. These three areas involve education, accident investigation, and enforcement.
The Traffic Unit consists of five Harley Davidson police motorcycles (all are equipped with front and rear radar systems); threepatrol cars, and two Downtown Tupelo Parking Enforcement Officers. The Traffic Division handles traffic accidents, funerals, parade escorts, special events, as well as any other traffic control issues throughout the City of Tupelo.
Q. What should I do if I am involved in a traffic accident?
A. Follow these steps if you are involved in an accident:
- Try to remain calm and call, or have someone call, 911 immediately. Tell them your location, if you or other parties have been injured, and if you or other party’s vehicles are blocking the road. Also, be sure to tell 911 if a vehicle is smoking or on fire.
- Do not assume other drivers see the accident, make yourself and others safe. Activate the emergency flashers if possible, and move yourself and other occupants of the vehicles to a place of safety, if possible.
- An officer will arrive shortly to begin working the accident, handling traffic control and advise you on what further steps you will need to take.
- If the other party leaves the scene without providing the necessary information or after advising them that the police are coming, the collision becomes a hit and run, which is a crime. If this happens, try to get the license plate number of the other vehicle, as well as a description of the vehicle, driver and their direction of travel. Call 911 or turn this information over to the responding officer. Do not attempt to follow or detain the other driver. Your safety is more important.
Some things to keep in mind when you are involved in a traffic accident:
- Responding officers do not assign fault at traffic accidents. Their job is to document facts, physical evidence, and injuries associated with the accident.
- Ask anyone standing nearby or may have stopped if they saw the collision to please stay and speak with the responding officer(s).
- Parking lot or private property accidents are separate accidents compared to on the roadway accidents. Parking lot or private property officers only collect information to turn in for insurance purposes, while roadway accidents can be investigated further if needed.
- Officer’s do not handout information at the scene. A computerized report will be available the next business day for pick-up at our Records Division.
Q How do most accidents occur?
A. Most traffic accidents can be attributed to not paying attention on the part of the driver and/or the driver’s inability to judge stopping distance in an emergency situation. Following too closely to the vehicle directly in front of the driver is all too often a contributing factor in most accidents. Others include not paying attention and aggressive driving habits. The following are some things to avoid while operating a motor vehicle:
- Texting on a cell phone
- Talking on a cell phone
- Talking to passengers
- Checking behavior of children
- Applying make-up or shaving
- Reading a map, book or newspaper
- Switching radio controls
- Looking at an accident that has already occurred
Thing to do while driving:
- Be alert
- Scan the area in which you are driving
- Watch for stop signs and red lights
- Do not be distracted
- Be courteous
- Be patient
- Drive at the appropriate speed limit
- Always wear your seatbelt
Q. What do I need to have with me during an accident?
A. Everyone driving upon the roadways in Mississippi must have in their possession a valid driver’s license and a valid and in date insurance card.
Q. Who do I talk to about Traffic problems on my street?
A. All non-emergency traffic related calls may contact the Traffic Division directly at 841-6566, if no answer, leave your name and number and the Traffic Supervisor will call you back soon to talk to you about your issue. You may also e-mail your request to Tim.Clouse@tupeloms.gov.
If you are a resident of Tupelo or have visited Tupelo, you have probably seen our awareness trailer that the police department uses in combating speeding vehicles as well as to remind inattentive drivers to watch their speed.
The Speed Controlled Awareness Trailer or S.C.A.T. is used in neighborhoods, construction areas or any other location that has reported a speeding problem. The S.C.A.T. is a portable, self-contained solar-powered speed display system that is towed to different locations throughout the All-American City daily. It is setup on the side of the roadway to display only the speeds of oncoming vehicles on a large LED display. The display will flash several times if the speed of a vehicle is 10 mph over the posted limit. A speed limit sign mounted above the LED display reminds drivers of what the actual speed limit is in that area.
If you live in Tupelo and feel that you have a problem with speeding vehicles in your neighborhood, you are encouraged to contact the Tupelo Police Department’s Traffic Division and request that the S.C.A.T. be placed in your area. You can do this by calling the Traffic Division at 841-6566, again if no answer, leave your name and number so that the Traffic Supervisor may call you back, or e-mail to Tim.Clouse@tupeloms.gov. All calls and e-mails are confidential.