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Sacramento Has Worst Driving Record in the Country

Sacramento is home to the state capitol and we have many other things to be proud of. The Sacramento Zoo, Crocker Art Museum, fairytale Town and Raging Waters glean compliments by the car load. Visitors stop in from all over the whole nation. One thing we aren’t so proud of, however, is our driving safety record.

According to surveys conducted by the Office of Traffic Safety, Sacramento consistently ranks last of 13 comparably sized cities in number of drunk driving and overall injury car accidents.  Sacramento has ranked low in road safety records for over five years and is even worse than Los Angeles, which ranked second. Sacramento also rated high in accidents caused by drivers 21 to 34 years old.

Sacramento also ranked worse than San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and Fresno. The Office of Traffic Safety ranks cities according to per capita injuries and fatalities accidents. They also collect the data of all alcohol related crashes and those involving pedestrian or cyclists.   

Sacramento drivers like to blame the statistics on visitors, commuters and tourist traffic. Data suggests a common theme in high speed crashes. The high rate of alcohol related accidents shows that patrons of local bars and clubs are the highest population involved in accidents. Regardless of the reason, Sacramento streets can be exceedingly dangerous, especially to pedestrians and cyclists.

Recent numbers have shown the rate of actual deaths and serious injuries has dropped for Sacramento drivers. This trend extended throughout the country which may be seen to prove safety campaigns of the last decade are working. The state began the ratings in 2006. By 2010, the 3,468 injuries and deaths counted proved a 23% drop. Alcohol related crashes dropped 36% by 2010.

The city is flabbergasted by its unsafe rating. Some may blame out-of-towners but police say a lowered budget and other constraints has tightened the amount of traffic patrols the can commit to. The hefty number of speed related crashes, especially in the Citrus Heights area suggests the city may just have a surplus of bad drivers. 2008 was a particularly bad year. Sacramento registered 4,000 car accident related deaths, more than any other city in the country.

The CrimeWatch organization advocates for more police budget allocations for just this reason. They state the high cost of collisions as the major reason. Accidents, whether or not they include injuries, cost the community thousands upon thousands of dollars. They can require police officers and dispatchers, ambulance drivers, hospital emergency staff, and tow trucks among other services. Spending more on police traffic stops could actually save Sacramento drivers and the community in the long run.

The data is troubling and community members hope it is enough to get leaders and administrators to pay attention. The fact that the city continuously ranks so abysmally low should confirm the dire state. While some improvements seem to be slowly appearing there is still much work to be done to improve the safety of Sacramento roads for its residents and visitors.