Davis collision rates have made a dramatic 50 percent decrease over a span of five years. From 2002 to 2006, the California Highway Patrol compiled data on collisions at various intersections throughout the city, investigating possible causes and preventative measures.
The term collision refers to an accident between a motor vehicle and another motor vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian or any other object.
At the Safety and Parking Advisory Commission meeting Thursday, a report was presented to the commission to document improvements made since 2002 and their effects on the citywide crash rate.
The factors contributing to the crash decrease can be attributed to programs implemented by the Public Works Department and Davis Police Department.
The number one concern of residents was traffic, said Public Works Department senior civil engineer Roxanne Namazi at themeeting.
In response, DPD increased traffic enforcement, equipped intersections with cameras and increased DUI enforcement, Namazi said. Several officers are placed near schools during busy times to enforce traffic laws as well.
In addition, the California Office of Traffic Safety gave DPD a three-year grant of $260,000 to combat drunk driving.
The ‘Avoid the Eight’ grant allowed us to increase our traffic unit from two to four motor officers and one traffic sergeant, said DPD Traffic Sergeant Ton Phan. When you have an increase in enforcement, you are going to have a lower rate of accidents.
The police will be targeting DUI violations during major events like Picnic Day, July 4 and New Year’s Eve. Additional checkpoints and DUI saturation patrols have contributed to the decreased crash rate.
With the grant, we had an increase in checkpoints, Phan said. I’m currently working into a third year of a grant that saturates different cities for DUI enforcement and conducts checkpoints for major holidays.
In 2005, The Red Light Running Program installed four intersections with cameras, and the Public Works Department has been installing traffic tools such as speed bumps and improved synchronization for traffic signals.
According to the staff report in 2005, red light cameras were installed in four intersections, including First Street and Richards Boulevard, Sycamore Lane and Russell Boulevard and Chiles Road and Mace Boulevard.
The intersection at Fifth Street and Pole Line Road had 10 accidents from 2002 to 2004, zero in 2005 and four in 2006 since the intersection was equipped with cameras, Namazi said.
For some reason, Pole Line and Fifth had too many crashes, Namazi said. [Now] Pole Line and Fifth is not generating a lot of violations, surprisingly.
The intersection at Fifth and F streets had the highest crash rate in the city. Since the installation of split-phase light signals designed to allow smoother turns in February 2005, the total number of crashes dropped. There were 65 collisions from 2002 to 2004 and 11 from 2005 to 2006.
The city also aims to get residents involved in the effort toward safer streets.
The Police Department just launched the Pace Car Program – a neighborhood ‘street smarts’ program, Namazi said.
The Neighborhood Pace Car Program is designed to control traffic from the source: citizens.
It’s a program to get citizens involved and try to help us slow people down, Phan said. By signing a contract with us, they get a sticker they get to put on the rear-view mirror or bumper to say they are going to obey the traffic laws and speed limit. It’s us partnering up with the citizens to slow traffic down and drive safely.
The DPD plans on continuing the programs, as they appear to be effective.
We’re going to keep on trying to apply for more traffic grants for more equipment and more bodies in the traffic unit, Phan said.
Data for 2007 collisions will be available in the upcoming September report.
POOJA KUMAR can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.