Traffic Crashes at All-Time Low

Traffic Crashes at All-Time Low
Posted on 02/04/2019
Police using radar

While traffic crashes have increased steadily nationwide, reaching a 10-year high in 2016, the total traffic crashes in Arlington Heights reached a 15-year low in 2018 following the second consecutive year of declining crash figures. 

Between 2016 and 2017, Arlington Heights experienced an 8.8% decrease in the total number of traffic crashes. Similarly, between 2017 and 2018, the total number of traffic crashes decreased by 5.6%. In 2004, there were 2,562 personal injury and property damage traffic crashes on Arlington Heights roadways, while in 2018 there were only 1,742 traffic crashes recorded, representing a 32% decrease during this time period. 

While traffic crash experience can be affected by various factors, such as roadway construction and uncharacteristic weather conditions during the seasons, the department has continued to rely on historical traffic crash data to direct its resources. Officers routinely conduct extra traffic enforcement at locations with the highest incidence of traffic crashes. Driver behaviors, such as speeding and distracted driving, are typically targeted based on analysis of historical traffic crash influences at each location.

During 2017 and 2018, the Arlington Heights Police Department issued over 11,000 total hazardous moving violation citations, such as speeding and disregarding traffic control devices. Additionally, officers issued over 3,200 distracted driving citations over the past two years. As a result, over 1 out of every 4 citations are issued at one of the top ten highest traffic crash intersection locations. 

In addition to these efforts, citizen generated traffic complaints are also valuable in identifying trouble areas. The department addresses such traffic complaints through not only adding patrols, but also through site-based evaluations and implementation of traffic calming devices. As an example, many speeding related complaints are evaluated by means of a week-long survey which records the number of vehicles travelling in a particular area and their associated speeds.

The information is analyzed, providing officers with accurate data regarding the exact extent of the traffic problem, as well as days and times with the highest incidence of speeding vehicles. The department also utilizes traffic calming devices, such as radar speed indicator signs. These signs provide drivers with a visual indicator of their speed, warning motorists to slow down and observe the posted speed limit. Data has shown these signs typically increase overall compliance with posted speed limits by 30-60%. During 2018, speed indicators signs were placed at nearly 80 different locations throughout the village, providing over 61,000 hours of visual motorist speed warning.  

Traffic Crash ChartAn assessment of these enforcement initiatives has proven highly effective. Between 2017 and 2018, enforcement efforts at the top ten highest traffic crash intersection locations contributed to an 18% decrease in the total traffic crashes at those locations. Conversely, analysis of intersections not included in that list showed an approximate increase of 6% in the total number of traffic crashes. The previous year comparison from 2016 to 2017 showed similar results with an overall 9% decrease at the top rated intersections. 

Prioritizing the most significant traffic crash locations allowed for the greatest overall impact in traffic crash incidence and roadway safety.