KCRA 3 in Sacramento reported some shocking statistics released from Caltrans this week. Sacramento is second only to Los Angeles when it comes to traffic collision hot spots! We all know that the interchange where 5 meets 80 meets 99 meets 50 is a mess, but did you know the 50/5 link averages an accident every other day?
Sacramento has 100 hot spots, but no street is as bad as Watt Avenue with 7,800 collisions over the past ten years. Check out the full report from Caltrans, it’s interesting reading. Statistics are excellent guides.
In the KCRA 3 article, a Charlene Bagano is quoted as blaming the drivers in Sacramento. It may be true that we speed and we tend to make rolling (or “California”) stops, but a lot of people do. It may be true that we tailgate and have heavy traffic, but, again, so does most of California. We are by no means the best drivers in the world, but we are not the worst. I don’t think it’s fair to blame the people and just say “they don’t care.” My question is, who does? Who really thinks about the fact that they are operating heavy machinery every time they enter their car? Who realizes the responsibility and liability associated with that privilege?
Saying that people are the cause is an easy out. Maybe the Sacramento area should take a closer look at certain intersections and “hot spots” and try to spot what’s really wrong here. There is a reason Caltrans creates these reports and labeling people who live here as bad drivers isn’t it.
If you want to see change everyone has to work together. If you want to see safer streets we need to educate new drivers, regulate current drivers, and make road planning with an emphasis on safety a priority.
What do you think? Is it us? Is it them? What would you suggest?