Thursday, December 30, 2010

Drive carefully in the new year

While the number of homicides in Kansas City continues to be very disturbing (we're at 106 this year compared to 110 in 2009 and 126 in 2008), another statistic gets far less press but is equally concerning: the 68 people who have died in fatality crashes in Kansas City this year. That's three more people than died in crashes in 2009, despite intensive efforts by police to stop this trend (DUI and driver's license checkpoints, targeting revoked drivers and much more) and despite the nation overall having the lowest number of traffic deaths since 1954.

An interesting pattern of KC's 2010 traffic fatalities also has emerged: that of a single driver alone in the car losing control of his or her vehicle and crashing. This is the first discernible traffic death pattern we've had since 2008, when we had a large number of motorcycle crashes. Very few of these deaths of single drivers are related to road conditions. Most are the result of impaired or distracted drivers. Due to toxicology tests, it's relatively easier for police to determine whether a driver was drunk or high at the time of the crash. It's harder to figure out if the driver was talking or texting on a cell phone. For your safety and others, please don't do either of these things.

The number of people killed homicides in Kansas City has fallen, but the number of people killed in car crashes is on the rise. Please drive safely this New Year's Eve and into the New Year, and don't become a statistic.

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