Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Police to release fatal crash information weekly


Seven people have died in six traffic crashes so far in Kansas City this year, and police want to make the public more aware of the causes of these deaths by providing a new, weekly, fatality crash analysis.

The analysis will be posted on KCPD’s web site every Monday on the Traffic Enforcement page.

Similar to the daily homicide analysis posted on the “Crime Stats” page on the department web site, the traffic fatality analysis breaks down the victims of crashes demographically, but it also cites the factors contributing to the crashes and deaths. For example, from Jan. 1 through Feb. 6, 2012, three of the seven victims were not wearing seat belts. Alcohol was a factor in two crashes, and two drivers were driving with revoked or suspended licenses. Excessive speed factored in two crashes, and one was due to a driver violating a traffic signal.

“We’re trying to raise awareness of the causes for fatality accidents,” said Major Rich Lockhart, commander of the Special Operations Division. “We’ve never done this before. We hope that by letting people know on a weekly basis how many fatal crashes we have and what causes them, it will make people think twice. … Most of our fatal crashes are preventable.”

Major Lockhart said the dangerous driving behavior that often leads to fatal crashes can affect anyone, even law-abiding drivers who are in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s why he urged everyone to wear seat belts, saying it could significantly reduce Kansas City’s traffic fatalities.