In the past week, it may seem like East Contra Costa County has had an uptick in vehicle crashes, but the truth is 2018 data is showing East County is actually having an increase in vehicle crashes.
Over the weekend, on Saturday, there was one fatal crash in Pittsburg while East Contra Costa Fire reported 10 patients in a matter of two-hours in three separate vehicle crashes. On Sunday, there were more crashes.
On Monday, sadly a 10-year-old juvenile was struck in a cross walk in Brentwood and remains in critical condition. Meanwhile in Antioch, 3 juveniles were struck near Antioch high School—one being a hit and run. There was also another hit-and-run on Kirker Pass involving a motorcycle. All of this within about a 90-minutes time frame.
The point is, there are hundreds of other examples including a female who was struck in a crosswalk on Empire Ave on September 5 in the City of Oakley. She was airlifted to a local hospital.
Further proof of peoples inability to drive safely these days, Contra Costa County Fire Engines have been struck at least 4-times in 2018. Hitting a fire engine is pretty impressive on Highway 4, especially with an excuse of “I didn’t see the fire truck”. If people are hitting fire engines, we all may be in trouble on East County roads.
According to data requested by this publication from Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (CONFIRE) and East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD), here are the number of vehicle crashes between January 1 through September 17, 2018 when compared to 2017:
CONFIRE (Battalion 8 only)
- 2017 – 494 total accidents / 2018 – 554 total accidents (10.83 % increase)
- 2017 – 72 accidents with rescue / 2018 – 118 accidents w/rescue (38.98 increase)
- Overall increase is 15.77% in accidents
ECCFPD (Battalion 5 only)
- 2017 – 339 total accidents / 2018 – 434 total accidents (8.7% increase)
- 2018 – 59 accidents with rescue / 2018 – 84 accidents w/rescue (42% increase)
From the data, not only are there more vehicle crashes, the crashes are bigger and more serious. Furthermore, we have not even hit rainy season and the issue is not limited to just one city or area, but all of East Contra Costa from Bay Point to Discovery Bay.
A 40% increase in accidents with rescue equate to more time spent on scene of a vehicle crash as multiple fire engines are required which also requires more police to shut down roadways and in some cases, multiple AMR units are requested to the scene for transport. No one wins in this scenario.
I’d also like to point out that due to the high number of vehicle crashes, this publication has actually stopped publishing traffic crashes because it would be full of them each day. We now focus on the more major crashes that impact traffic.
It is time for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclist to become more willing to follow traffic laws, speed limits, parking, and laws around school zones. Each are equally responsible for road safety and need to begin paying more attention.
Let’s go a step further.
Think about it, how much trust are you putting into other drivers not to crash into you? Not to hurt you? If you are crossing a cross walk, trust that a driver will actually stop and let you cross? We are getting to a point where people are either ignoring traffic laws and speed limits, or simply just do not care anymore.
We are almost at the point where we may begin having to wear mouth guards where we drive, even a football helmet or gear just to make it home safely. If you put trust in others, they should return the favor and put trust in you to not be a jackass on the road.
Do we all need to login to our Amazon Accounts and purchase a Dash Cam? Just to have in case someone else hits us?
Some will argue we need more police and traffic units. Yes, I agree, but even if they doubled in staffing they still can’t be everywhere. Furthermore, even if police gave out more tickets, which they have been doing, it wouldn’t change driving habits.
Here are some of the recent reporting of citations from proactive traffic enforcement details over the past several months.
On September 5, Antioch Police reported that a traffic enforcement detail netted in 120 citations to citizens while Pittsburg Police say on June 26 a similar operation resulted in 124 citations. Brentwood police reported on June 27 an operation in Brentwood and Oakley resulted in 86 citations—with one citation for a driver going 105-mph.
One conversation I had with a traffic officer recently was they could give 100-tickets per day times 7-officers and it would still not change habit because some people do not want to change their habit. Traffic cops are doing their part, which we should all appreciate as they are giving tickets out on their way to work.
For example, officers that live in Brentwood and Oakley that commute westbound are now patrolling Highway 4 on their way to work–this is brilliant by the way!
If officers are stepping up, its time the community also step up with regards to traffic safety. There is no reason for a huge jump in major accidents–especially 40%. I will not pretend to know the answer, it is a big problem, especially with marijuana DUI’s, but there has to come a point where we all become responsible in changing driving habits and the mentality that people can get away with speeding, running red lights, parking illegal, and other non-safe traffic maneuvers east county drivers have created for themselves.
As a community, we need to become more self-aware of their own driving habits, remove distracted driving opportunities such as phones and other idiocies and simply drive from Point A to Point B in a safe manner.
Ultimately, we should all become more patient and courteous on our roadways when people’s lives are at risk.
Publisher of ECT