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MADISONVILLE, KY (12/6/11) – Madisonville Police Chief, Wade Williams, is very pleased with his department’s success in reducing traffic accidents. Williams said that November has historically been a very bad month for traffic accidents in Madisonville.
“Our goal was to reduce accidents by 8%," Williams said. Williams said that insurance company statistics indicate an average cost of $25,000 per traffic accident. “We reached a 16% reduction in collisions in November. We were on track to have a 24% reduction until the last three days of the month with bad weather.”
The 16% reduction translates into 27 fewer accidents meaning that approximately $675,000 of property damage and personal injury costs were averted. Carrying the costs another step – insurance rates will also be lower for those that did not have accidents as well as the ratings for the entire community. This translates into about $1.2 million in lower insurance rates over the next 5 years.
Williams credits new software that identifies trouble spots for accidents by location, time and day of the week. “We are able to better deploy units to monitor these locations at the critical times to avert accidents.” It seems that just having a police car in the vicinity makes people drive more carefully and be more vigilant. This was also the tactic of using unmanned police cars called “decoy cars” at high risk locations. These police cars were parked in conspicuous positions and left unmanned.
SurfKY News received several complaints of the decoy cars being parked in the middle of streets in turn lanes.
Williams said the second big concern was parking lot accidents. “We have a city ordinance on parking lot travel.” Williams said. “City police can enforce travel on parking lots. While violations can cost $50 to $150 for failure to follow marked travel, we mostly write warnings.” Williams explained. Motorists are reminded that they should remain within their travel lane and must travel in the direction indicated. Taking short cuts across multiple lanes is dangerous and my result in a citation for the driver.
Most people would guess that, to achieve such a stunning success, the police department would be writing a lot more tickets. This is evidently not the case. “We wrote half the citations this November compared to last November.” Williams explained.
The department is still getting its feet wet with the new software. “We are doing analysis. We’re going to predicting.” The software analyzes past traffic accidents and crimes; but, it also predicts where crime and accidents will occur. The program uses advanced mathematical algorithms to predict future crimes within a few hundred feet. Williams is not holding his breath on that one.
The bottom line according to Williams is that the people of Madisonville are getting their money’s worth and living in a safer community.
Ron Sanders
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