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Accidents up 27% in 6 years
Crashes now happen once every 10.2 hours
A crash between a Postal Service truck and a vehicle in Manteca in February 2014 was one of 858 accidents on city streets last year. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Manteca’s accident numbers since 2009 have increased 4.5 times faster than the population.

After staying virtually unchanged at around 675 a year from 2009 through 2012, accidents on city streets in Manteca shot up from 674 in 2012 to 736 in 2013 and to 858 in 2014. In six years that translates into a 27 percent increase in the number of accidents.

The rise in 2013 saw the biggest year for traffic fatalities in Manteca in nearly a decade with three deaths. No one died in 2014.

Besides the increase in the loss of life, the surge in accidents cost a collective $20.1 million in Manteca during 2013 based on an average cost per accident of $23,450 gleaned from studies by the Insurance Research Council.

Manteca’s population has gone up from 68,847 in 2009 to 73,000 in 2014 or a jump of 6 percent. At the same time accidents went from 675 in 2009 to 858 in 2014 or an increase of 27 percent.

Injury accidents are up between 2009 and 2014 by 33.6 percent going from 119 to 157.

Last year, a traffic accident occurred on Manteca city streets every 10.2 hours. That compares to every 12.9 hours in 2009.

Manteca Police issued 3,458 for moving violations in 2009 while slipping down to 1,221 tickets in 2014 for a drop of just under 65 percent.

Driving under the influence arrests are down 39 percent over the six years going from 250 to 152. At the same time, though, DUI accidents are down 17 percent going from 52 in 2009 to 41 in 2014. Child safety restraint tickets have plunged 85 percent over six years going from 61 to 9 while safety belt citations are off 33.2 percent going from 274 to 183.

The biggest drop in tickets, though, is for parking violations. There were 2,511 such tickets issued in 2009 and 582 in 2014. That represents a decline of 77 percent.

While most of the drop off in ticket writing is attributable to the traffic unit being reduced in order to keep Manteca’s street presence of regular patrol efforts unchanged due to the Great Recession budget cuts, a chunk of the parking ticket writing dropped off when the State Attorney General offered her opinion people who hadn’t been through Police Officers Standard Training should not be allowed to issue tickets. That effectively pulled the plug on the Manteca Seniors Helping Areas Residents and Police doing ticketing for non-moving violations. They primarily concentrated on expired registration tags and handicapped parking violations.

Police Chief Nick Obligacion has indicated there is a direct correlation between less moving violation tickets being issued and the increase in traffic accidents.