Car crashes in Dartmouth down 15 percent this year
Traffic accidents in Dartmouth are down 15 percent compared to last year, according to an analysis sent to Dartmouth Week by Dartmouth Police Crime Analyst Keri Lebeau.
Police reported 417 accidents between January 1 and October 16 this year, while over the same period last year there were 491 accidents reported — in line with 492 accidents reported over the same period in 2017.
These numbers exclude Interstate 195, which is outside Dartmouth Police jurisdiction.
State Road is easily the most dangerous road in Dartmouth, as nearly one-third of all car accidents so far this year occurred on the four-lane divided highway.
Out of 417 accidents, 133 happened on State Road, also known as Route 6.
This represents 31.9 percent of all accidents in Dartmouth.
The second most dangerous road in town is Faunce Corner Road, on which 54 accidents occurred, representing 13 percent of all accidents since January 1.
Dartmouth Safety Officer Joe Vieira noted that the volume of traffic on these heavily used roads is the likely cause.
“If you look at it, the volume of traffic that goes up and down that road during the day — just sheer numbers, you’re gonna see an uptick in crashes,” he said, adding that many of the reported accidents are “fender benders.”
In fact, the vast majority — around 77 percent — of people involved in crashes this year had no injury or no apparent injury.
Around 1 percent were potentially seriously injured, while .2 percent sustained incapacitating injuries. One person (.1 percent of those involved in crashes this year) was killed.
Perhaps most surprising is the fact that distracted driving — including drivers looking at electronic devices — was reported as a factor in only 5.5 percent of accidents since January.
Vieira noted that the low number could be a result of people failing to disclose the true cause of accidents.
“When the officer gets there, obviously people have a tendency to hide [devices],” he said. “If the officer doesn’t see the violation, it’s difficult.”
“People are getting more savvy in how to hide their devices,” Vieira added. “I think that’s probably why the numbers are low.”
Speeding was cited as a factor in only 1.7 percent of accidents.
In the vast majority of cases, no factor was attributed to causing the crash. Noted as “No improper driving” in the data, this occurred in 75.5 percent of accidents for all of the drivers involved.
“You’re driving along, and everything appears to be okay, it’s maybe a 50-50 type thing,” Vieira explained. “These things happen.”
Police data also reveal that the largest percentage of drivers involved in crashes this year were 19-25 years old (22.8 percent), an age bracket that accounts for roughly 12 percent of Dartmouth’s population (according to American Community Survey estimates for 2017, whose age brackets differ from those in the police analysis by around one year).
Drivers aged 26-35 were the second most likely to be involved in accidents with nearly 20 percent of all drivers involved in crashes falling into this category.
Only around 9 percent of Dartmouth’s population is aged 26-35.
Meanwhile teens aged 15-18 (representing roughly 10 percent of the population) were in 9 percent of crashes.
And although seniors over 60 account for more than a quarter (26 percent) of the town’s population, only 19 percent of drivers in accidents this year belonged to that age group.
For more information or safety tips, visit the Dartmouth Police website at www.dartmouthpd.org.