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Chances of being injured in traffic accident up & odds of getting moving violation ticket down
Traffic accidents, such as the aftermath of this crash several years ago on Lathrop Road, continue to increase in Manteca.

Manteca’s increasing accident rate shows no signs of slowing down.

Statistics for the first month of 2022 reflect a 6.02 percent increase in traffic accidents going from 83 in January 2021 to 88 in January 2022.

While a jump of five accidents may not seem like a lot, more of the accidents in January 2022 resulted in injuries. The year-to-year January comparisons for injury accidents were up 112.5 percent going from 8 to 17.

And while accidents are going up the writing of tickets for moving violations that contribute to accidents continues to go down.

Manteca Police officers issued 68 tickets for moving violations such as speeding, running stop signs and redlights, distracted driving and other infractions that contribute to accidents in January of this year. That’s down from 274 in January 2021.
All citations issued were down 51.11 percent overall in January-to-January comparisons going from 407 to 199.

Parking violations however were up 44.14 percent going from 111 to 160.

The January numbers come after a record year in 2021 for traffic accidents. Overall accidents were up 23.28 percent in Manteca last year going from 958 in 2020 to 1,181 in 2021. It marked the second time Manteca has had more than 1,000 accidents in a year.

And while the city doesn’t track financial losses due to traffic accidents, it is not difficult to frame the 3.2 accidents that happened on a daily basis in 2021 to warrant a response from Manteca Police as being more costly to citizens than crime.

Based on data posted by Bankrate for 2019, the property loses alone from a typical collision is $8,275. The average for accidents where there is bodily injury another $18,417 of costs is incurred.

Using the average for property losses alone and not adding for bodily injury the 1,181 accidents in 2021 in Manteca represented a loss of at least $10.3 million.

By comparison there was $4.7 million worth of property stolen in Manteca in 2021 with $2.3 million being recovered. That reflects a net loss of property via crime of $2.4 million.

It means traffic accidents created financial losses at least five times higher than losses from crime in Manteca during 2021.

Manteca Police traffic at

same staffing as in 2009

Manteca’s dedicated traffic unit has five officers. That is the same amount as in 2009 before budget cuts eliminated three of the five positions.

The unit was restored to five officers in 2020. That said there are no more additional traffic officers today compared to 2009 when there were 22,000 less residents. Manteca’s population in 2009 was 66,230.

Manteca Police last year issued 1,887 tickets for moving violations. That’s 13.99 percent fewer tickets than in 2020 when 2,194 tickets were issued.

There was also a 43.7 percent drop off in non-moving violation tickets going from 1,151 in 2020 to 648 in 2021. 

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.

 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