Manteca is on pace to surpass 1,200 traffic accidents by the end of the year.
If that occurs it would break the previous high mark of 1,065 set in 2019.
Manteca Police stats indicate there were 848 accidents on city streets during the first nine months of the year. That reflects an increase of 27.33 percent over the number of accidents through Sept. 30 in 2020.
Manteca ended 2020 with 958 accidents.
If a surge in accidents in some parts of the city during the past two months is any indication the year’s total could end up being closer to 1,300.
One example is the short stretch of Union Road between Lathrop Road and the city limits. A crash earlier this week marked the sixth accident in four weeks between Del Webb Boulevard and Shady Pines, a more northern entrance to the Del Webb age-restricted community that lacks traffic signals.
The latest accident took out a mature tree and left a city traffic sign in the street. The tree, just like other trees accidents have taken out, is replaced on the dime of Del Webb homeowners.
The stretch of roadway is the primary access points for more than 1,700 homes in Del Webb at Woodbridge and Union Ranch neighborhoods.
Residents report it is no unusual to for vehicles to drive in excess of 60 mph.
The speeding is in addition to other safety and litter problems they say are made worse by trucks — commercial and pickups — hauling garbage and trash to the transfer station on Lovelace Road with loads that aren’t secured or covered.
The first nine months of the year did not see a fatal accident on Manteca’s streets. There were six in both 2019 and 2020.
Injury accidents are up 12.59 percent through Sept. 30 with 152 occurring.
Driving under the influence is also up. There were 56 DUI accidents in the first nine months where the driver was either under the influence of alcohol, legal or illegal drugs, marijuana, or prescriptions. That represents a 43.59 percent increase over the first nine months of 2020.
Meanwhile tickets for moving violations are down 6.99 percent to 1,677 through Sept. 30. Moving violations target the primary cause of accidents — speeding, running stop signs or red lights, following too close, failing to yield, unsafe lane changes, and distracted driving
Manteca Police traffic
division restored to
same staffing as in 2009
For the first 11 months of 2020 the Manteca Police traffic unit that was up to its same strength with five assigned officers that were in place before budget cuts hit in 2009 issued 2,194 tickets for moving violations. Moving violations are the most egregious traffic violations that have a direct impact on accidents.
There was a trade-off even with five motorcycle officers. While moving violation tickets were up 54.51 percent from the 1,420 issued in 2019, non-moving violation tickets dropped 33.81 percent going from 1,719 in 2019 to 1,151 in 2020. That said reducing moving violations are considered key to reducing accidents.
Proponents of beefing up the traffic division contend it is the most effective way at reducing accidents as the “education/enforcement process” that pulls over and “educates” moving violation offenders by issuing a ticket or “educating” by giving them a warning has an impact on those who slip into bad habits. Clearly not all drivers can be “educated” into modifying how they drive.
Manteca is still lagging in terms of dedicated traffic enforcement manpower.
There were 66,230 residents in Manteca in 2009 when the city last had five traffic officers or one per 13,246 residents. Today with 87,000 residents that translates into one traffic officer per 17,400 residents.
If staffing were simply based on numeric ratio considerations, Manteca has a staffing deficit of 1½ traffic officers. At any rate the Manteca City Council has not increased traffic division staffing levels beyond what they were at in 2009. During the same time the city’s population grew by 20,770 or 31.3 percent while at the same time the number of vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists grew exponentially.
A significant number of street miles have been added as well.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com