The chance of being killed on Manteca’s streets in an auto-related accident has skyrocketed in the last three years.
Fifteen people died in traffic collisions whether they were auto versus pedestrian, vehicle versus vehicle or solo accidents in 2014 (six deaths), 2015 (five deaths) and 2016 (four deaths). That is more deaths combined on Manteca’s streets than were recorded in the previous 12 years.
Accidents have been increasing almost three times faster than the population since 2010. Manteca’s population went from 67,096 in 2010 to 77,000 by the end of 2017 for a 14.7 percent jump. Accidents went from 637 in 2010 to 946 in 2017 for an increase of 45 percent.
During the same time the number of moving violations for speeding, rolling through stop signs, running red lights, texting while driving, failure to yield to pedestrians and such has fallen 43 percent going from 2,019 in 2019 down to 1,155 in 2017. That period also reflects complete years after the city reduced the Manteca Police force in late 2009 by 12 officers effectively decimating the traffic enforcement unit. Last year, Manteca final restored the number of officers to 67. In the meantime Manteca has added 12,000 residents since 2009.
The trend has been upward for overall accidents since 2010 has been upward.
Manteca’s 15 deaths in the past three years reflects only fatal accidents on city streets and does not include the 120 Bypass or Highway 99 that are under the jurisdiction of the California Highway Patrol
Injury accidents are up 66 percent between 2010 and 2017 going from 112 to 186. Manteca had 586 injury accidents in 2015, 2016, and 2017.
Last year was the second highest year for accidents that were reported to and handled by the Manteca Police Department with 946 occurring. The highest year was 2016 with 990 accidents while the third highest year was 2015 with 898 accidents.
Manteca in 2017 nearly doubled the number of tickets over 2016 that were issued for parking violations that cover blocking fire hydrants, blocking driveways, parking in red zones, parking in crosswalks, and similar infractions. The police issued 1,628 tickets last year compared to 827 in 2016. The peak year was 2,511 in 2009.
Manteca Police — like a growing number of California municipal law enforcement agencies— do not respond to simple fender benders.
And while they respond to more significant mishaps where a vehicle is often disabled but there are no injuries, they do not determine fault. They will file reports when someone is injured.
On major accidents that involve a fatality or a major injury a more extensive investigation will be conducted but ultimately fault is assigned by insurance companies and not police except in cases where the accident leads to criminal charges being filed.
The department’s policy may not sit well with some motorists but police note insurance companies ultimately determine on their own which driver is responsible and therefore whose insurance pays the tab.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com