Police: Car Accidents Up Almost 12 Percent

Property damage vehicle accidents in Warsaw increased by 11.9 percent in 2015 over 2014, while collisions causing injury decreased by 4.5 percent.
Traffic Safety Commissioner and Warsaw Police Department Lt. Kip Shuter presented the 2015 Annual Traffic Report to the Traffic Commission Wednesday. The report on how many crashes occur in the city is required annually by ordinance.

“We were actually up in accidents. (Up) ninety-one (property damage) accidents between ’14 and ’15,” Shuter said. “No real explanation for that, other than we did have a pretty severe winter last year.”

In 2015, the city had 852 property damage accidents, up from 761 in 2014. There also were 127 injury collisions in 2015, down 4.5 percent from 133 in 2014; 171 total injuries in 2015, down 11.3 percent from 193 in 2014; and one fatality in 2015, up from zero in 2014.
The most collisions in 2015 occurred in February with 102, followed by 97 in July. In 2014, the worst month was January with 93, followed by 91 in June.
Shuter said that Friday “most definitely is the highest day to have probability of an accident. And then lunch time, from 11 (a.m.) to 2 (p.m.), is the highest probability there to be in an accident.”

There were 182 collisions on Fridays in 2015 and 183 in 2014. Sundays had the lowest with 95 in 2015 and 76 in 2014.
By time of day, there were 264 collisions reported in 2015 between 11 a.m. and 1:59 p.m. and 220 in that time frame in 2014. Only 27 collisions happened in 2015 between 10 and 11:59 p.m., and 36 in 2014 between 10 and 11:59 p.m. and 36 between midnight and 5:59 a.m.

The most common contributing circumstance in 2015 and 2014 was “failure to yield right of way,” with 196 and 160 accidents respectively. “Following too closely” came in second in 2015 with 186, while in 2014 the second-most cited reason was “unsafe backing” at 176. Cell phone use was only cited nine times in 2015 and five times in 2014.
Roads with the most crashes are the city’s highest traveled roads, Shuter said.

On Detroit Street (Ind. 15) in 2015, there were 148 crashes, up from 138 in 2014. Center Street had 137 crashes in 2015, compared to 105 in 2014. Lake City Highway (U.S. 30) had 125 crashes last year, compared to 117 in 2014. Winona Avenue was down from 57 crashes in 2014 to 44 in 2015; Walton Boulevard was up from 34 in 2014 to 40 in 2015; Buffalo Street was down from 41 in 2014 to 38 in 2015; and Parker Street more than doubled from 16 in 2014 to 38 in 2015.
Rear-end collisions were most frequent, with 291 in 2015 and 227 in 2014.
Jack Wilhite, city councilman and council representative to the Commission, asked if the two roundabouts on Lake Street were within the city limits. Shuter said they were not.

In 2015, Warsaw police issued 6,420 traffic citations, arrests and warnings. That’s down from 8,412 in 2014. The highest number was for infraction uniform traffic tickets at 1,571 in 2015, down from 2,054 in 2014.
Connie Fribley, Commission member, said, “For me, coming from the citizen’s level, it’s nice to see that under the tickets there are many more warnings given out than actual tickets.”

“By far,” agreed WPD Lt. Joel Beam, Commission member.
Under infraction uniform traffic tickets, the largest number – 421 – was given for seat belt/child restraint violations, down from 528 in 2014. Speed was the reason for 226 in 2015, up from 218 in 2014. Driving while suspended also was up, from 159 in 2014 to 192 in 2015.

In 2015, under misdemeanor uniform traffic tickets, 139 were for operating while intoxicated, 133 for driving while suspended and 43 for operator never licensed. All were up from 2014’s numbers of 72, 50 and eight respectively.

The number of felony traffic tickets increased in 2015 over 2014. There were seven OWI priors in 2014, but 19 in 2015; and one habitual traffic violator in 2014, but 13 in 2015.
Speed was the biggest reason for a warning traffic ticket in 2014 and 2015 at 1,279 and 1,230 respectively. No or improper lights decreased from 601 in 2014 to 414 in 2015, while tickets for disregarding a signal or sign increased from 245 in 2014 to 347 in 2015.

The WPD issued 2,056 parking violations in 2015, with the highest number, 1,137, for first overtime parking. That’s up from 977 in 2014.

Improper parking was cited 832 times (up from 760 in 2014), with 26 given violations for handicapped parking (up from 11 in 2014) and 24 for parking in a no-parking zone (up from one in 2014). Thirty-seven violations were given for second time overtime parking in 2015, up from 10 in 2014.

(Story By The Times Union)