It’s not your imagination. Manteca’s streets are getting dangerous.
Eleven people have died — a third of them pedestrians — during the last two years on city streets. That includes six deaths in 2015 and five deaths in 2016.
Statistics show it is significantly more dangerous to drive on a Manteca street than the 120 Bypass which is the deadliest stretch of freeway in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.
Over a seven year stretch from 2010 through 2016, the CHP said 1,261 collisions have happened on the 120 Bypass resulting in 815 injuries and 11 deaths.
Compare that to Manteca streets. Manteca Police Department statistics show during the same time period there were 17 deaths on Manteca streets, 6,143 collisions including 1,279 injury accidents.
The bulk of the people killed and injured on the 120 Bypass are not from Manteca. Accidents on city streets in the past two years have exclusively killed Manteca residents.
Last year was the worst year ever for both the number of accidents and the number of injury accidents. That comes to 2.7 accidents a day. The number is actually higher as it involves only traffic collisions reported to police.
Overall accidents shot up 16.63 percent in 2016 to 990 shattering the previous record of 898 set in 2015. Injury accidents set a new record of 210 with an 11.11 percent increase over 2015.
Accidents that involved driving while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or other substances jumped 36.17 percent to 64 in 2016. That matches a high of 64 in 2012.
Meanwhile moving violations dropped by 26.09 percent going from 1,937 in 2015 to 1,451 in 2016.
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 insurance companies ultimately determine on their own which driver is responsible and therefore whose insurance pays the tab.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org