Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bad weather led to many more car crashes

Suspecting that bad weather has led to more car crashes this month, we’ve run the numbers and discovered that crashes were up 12 percent from Jan. 1, 2010, to today, compared to the same time period last month (Dec. 1-12, 2009) in Kansas City, Mo.

Non-injury car crashes saw a 26 percent increase, from 557 in the first 12 days of December to 703 in the first 12 days of January (and Jan. 12 isn’t over yet). There actually were 16 fewer injury accidents in January compared to December. One of the few bright spots of slick roadways are that they make drivers slow down, and while this may not prevent a wreck, it will help prevent injuries. When roads are bad, police usually see an increase in non-injury wrecks and a decrease in injury ones. Fortunately, no fatality crashes took place in the first 12 days of December 2009 or January 2010.

One of the most disheartening statistics in this report was the number of hit-and-run cases. From Dec. 1-12, hit-and-run drivers were involved in 155 wrecks, two of which involved a pedestrian being struck. So far this month, we’ve seen 128 hit-and-run crashes, including one involving a pedestrian. We know that the recent weather has made roads slick, but if you hit another vehicle – even if it was an accident – you are required by law to do the right thing by stopping and contacting the driver of the other vehicle (or the vehicle’s owner in the case of a parked car). All hit-and-run cases are followed up and investigated by detectives, and if they find that you struck a vehicle and didn’t take responsibility for it, you’ll face far worse consequences than if you’d simply stopped and exchanged information. And if you hit a person, you must stop and call 911 immediately.

As the temperatures warm and the snow melts, I hope to see these crash numbers go down. But in the meantime, please be careful.

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