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New crash report a mix of ‘good news, bad news’

Photo Courtesy of the Kent Fire Department

The good news for the Greater Akron area is that the number of traffic crashes on the region’s roadways and intersections decreased slightly between 2015 and 2016.  The bad news for the region is that crashes and fatalities increased from 2014, according to the latest three-year crash report compiled by AMATS.

The report’s findings are based on the agency’s analysis of nearly 55,000 motor vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian-related crash records for the area’s roadway sections and intersections provided by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).  High-crash locations identified in the report may be used by communities as a starting point when seeking federal Highway Safety Program funds through ODOT for safety improvement projects.

Pulay

The agency’s 2014-2016 Crash Report shows that the number of area crashes surprisingly decreased by 231 from 18,589 in 2015 to 18,358 in 2016 – a drop of less than one percent.  Crashes that resulted in an injury also decreased slightly during the same period – from 4,474 to 4,463.  AMATS Transportation Improvement (TIP) Coordinator Dave Pulay suggests that the improving crash numbers may be due to various safety improvements – such as new left turn lanes, signals, roundabouts, and widenings – throughout the region.  He cites Frost Road in Streetsboro, Summit Street in Kent, and 31st Street in Barberton as examples of recent safety projects which received AMATS-programmed funds.

“We may see better totals in the coming years too.  The Tallmadge Road/Interstate 76 Interchange in Brimfield, the Canton Road/US 224 intersection in Springfield Township, and Cleveland-Massillon Road in Fairlawn are all scheduled for various safety improvements in the near future,” Pulay adds.

Photo courtesy of the Akron Police Department.

Despite the improving crash totals, Greater Akron area fatalities increased every year of the report from 40 in 2014, to 47 in 2015, and 49 in 2016.  “These increases are mirroring similar trends at the state and national levels,” Pulay observes.  Safety experts are unsure as to why fatalities are increasing with some speculating that distracted and impaired driving due to drug abuse are contributing factors, according to Pulay.  “Whatever the reasons, fatalities are on the upswing and that’s a real concern,” he adds.

For the 2014-2016 Crash Report, the agency identified 178 high-crash roadway sections and 310 high-crash intersections in the region.  Not surprisingly, because Akron has the most roadway sections and intersections of any community in the region, the city also has the most locations listed for both high-crash categories.  Among the findings of the 2014-2016 Crash Report are:

  • Akron has 64 high-crash roadway sections followed by Cuyahoga Falls with 19 sections. Kent – the Portage County community with the most high-crash sections – is third with 17.
  • Akron has 164 high-crash intersections followed by Cuyahoga Falls with 31 intersections. Kent – the Portage County community with the most high-crash intersections – is third with 18.
  • The cities of Akron and Fairlawn each have three sections listed in the 10 highest scoring high-crash roadway sections in the Greater Akron area. Kent has two sections listed to be the Portage County community with the most sections in the top 10.
  • Akron has six intersections listed in the 10 highest scoring high-crash intersections, the most of any community in the Greater Akron area. Streetsboro is second with two intersections listed.
  • 2016 had 76 bicycle-related crashes, the lowest number since the agency began regularly tracking bicycle and pedestrian crashes in 2007. This downward trend began in 2013 when bicycle-related crashes peaked at 123.
  • Out of 254 bicycle-related crashes for the three-year period, 205 or 81 percent, resulted in an injury and five resulted in a fatality.
  • Sixty-six percent of bicycle-related crashes occurred at intersections.  These crashes occur more in the summer and peak in September.
  • Out of 501 pedestrian-related crashes for the three-year period, 428 or 85 percent, resulted in an injury and 16 in a fatality. Despite a one-year drop, from 179 crashes in 2015 to 168 crashes in 2016, there has been a general upward trend in pedestrian-related crashes from 122 in 2007.
  • Pedestrian-related crashes occur throughout the year, but tend to increase in the fall and peak in October.

For more information, please call AMATS at 330-375-2436.  The 2014-2016 Crash Report is available by clicking here.