Did you know that no state has more pedestrian deaths than California? Or that California’s pedestrian fatality rate is almost 70 percent higher than the national average?
These are truly scary statistics, and we need to do everything we can to make sure no one from our community becomes one of those statistics.
Here in Ukiah we are very lucky. During the last three years, our community has not experienced a pedestrian fatality and our traffic accident rate appears to be dropping. But that can change in an instant, and our department is determined to do all we can to ensure Ukiahans stay safe.
In 2015, 813 pedestrians were killed on California roadways and more than 12,000 were injured. You might be surprised to know that more than 25 percent of all fatalities in California were pedestrian involved in traffic accidents.
The best way to avoid a collision with a pedestrian or bicyclist is really simple; it starts with slowing down. When drivers speed, they simply don’t have enough time to react to avoid obstacles or pedestrians, which can lead to heartbreaking results for everyone involved.
In 2012, more than 10,200 people died because of speeding-related auto accidents nationwide (up 2 percent from the prior year). In fact, speeding caused 30 percent of all fatal car crashes. In bad weather, the percentages were even higher: on wet roads, speeding was a factor in 32 percent of fatal crashes, and in freezing or icy conditions, speeding was a factor in 44 percent of fatal crashes.
When drivers speed, they have a harder time slowing their vehicle enough to steer safely around danger (an unexpected curve, another vehicle, or a hazardous object in the road). In school zones or neighborhoods, speeding makes it more difficult to stop in time for children and other pedestrians crossing the road.
Driving faster than the posted speed limit (especially in bad weather) dramatically increases the chances of a crash—putting passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians at tremendous risk.
Because of this, when our officers are on patrol, they strictly enforce speed laws, especially in neighborhoods where residents commonly complain about speeders and in areas where children commonly walk to and from school. But here’s the problem: our police officers cannot patrol everywhere all the time.
So, we’re asking all local drivers: please slow down, especially on our narrow city roads. Parents, please talk with your teen driver about the dangers of speeding—for them and for those around them.
According to collision statistics, young men are more likely to speed than other drivers. During 2012, 37 percent of male drivers aged 15-20 who were involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the accident.
If these numbers haven’t scared you—maybe it’s because they don’t seem personally relevant, but consider this: nationally, 86 percent of all speeding-related traffic fatalities occur on local roadways (not highways). We don’t want those fatalities here and educating young drivers can significantly reduce these speeding-related accidents.
There are several great websites that can help parents talk with their teens about the dangers of reckless driving. Two great places to start are the www.driveithome.org website, which is sponsored by the National Safety Institute, and the www.iihs.org website, sponsored by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Both sites offer videos for parents and teens to watch together, as well as information about the common causes of collisions and driving tips to help keep your teen safe.
Please remember there is a reason for posted speed limits, and local drivers—whether teens or adults—need to know that our driving behaviors can impact friends, family members, neighbors and other people in our community. So please slow down, and if you have a teen in the house, take some time to discuss driving safety.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com