City of Lincoln
2009 Media Releases
Number remains steady as City size increases
Mayor Chris Beutler today said increased snowfall is largely the reason for a 14 percent increase in the number of traffic crashes in Lincoln from 2006 to 2007. The number increased from 7,584 to 8,642. (A summary follows this release.) The total monetary loss to the public from traffic crashes in 2997 is estimated at $191 million. But overall, the Mayor said, the number of crashes has remained fairly constant from 1988 to 2007, despite a 45 percent increase in the City's size over those years.
"If the number of crashes had increased at the same rate as vehicle miles traveled, the City would have experienced nearly 6,000 additional crashes in 2007 and nearly $133 million more in monetary loss," Beutler said. "Decreasing the number of crashes is an important priority as we work to keep our citizens safe." The Mayor said the number of fatal accidents has not significantly changed since 1992.
The City had 33 inches of snow in 2007 compared to 18 inches in 2006. The Mayor said the report shows that over time, the number of crashes is directly related to the amount of snowfall.
Beutler thanked the drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists who have helped keep crashes down by following the rules of the road. He said another major factor in keeping crash numbers low is the Transportation Safety Program the City has had in place since 1979. The Public Works and Utilities Department works with other City Departments to focus on the "three E's" - engineering, enforcement and education.
Earlier this week the City's 2006 crash study received a "Merit Award" from the American Council of Engineering Companies. "The annual study is important because it helps us decide where to best use the City's limited resources," said City Public Works and Utilities Director Greg MacLean. "We also use the data to determine where to seek federal funds to implement needed safety improvement projects."
MacLean said the City receives an average of about $600,000 in federal safety funds annually. These funds are used for safety projects like the recently approved I-180 east ramp at Superior Street, which is in the design phase, and a roundabout at the south ramp terminal of Cornhusker Highway and 14th Street.
Police Chief Tom Casady said motor vehicle traffic crashes cause far more damage, injury and loss of life in Lincoln than all crimes combined. "Traffic law enforcement reinforces compliance to protect all citizens, and it is an important priority for LPD," he said. In 2007, LPD issued 47,997 official citations and 44,089 warning citations for traffic law violations.
Bruce Dart, Health Director of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD), said injuries from crashes are very preventable. The Department's educational efforts on pedestrian safety are coordinated by the local Safe Kids Coalition, which includes a traffic specialist from Public Works and Utilities and an accident investigator from LPD.
* Non-reportable crashes are those in which no one was killed or injured and the estimated cost of damage is less than $1,000 (2006). That number has been adjusted through the years for inflation.
The 2007 crash report is available on the City Web site at lincoln.ne.gov.