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Monett Poice Department responds to a few more crashes in '11

Monday, January 23, 2012

Traffic crashes are up slightly in Monett, according to a report from the Monett Police Department that cited four more crashes in 2011 than in 2010.

Sergeant Dennis Camp said of the 161 collisions investigated by patrol officers in 2011, 29 involved injuries to the driver or passengers, which was three more than in 2010. None were fatality wrecks.

Property damage collisions totaled 132 for 2011, only one more than in 2010. Property damage crashes accounted for nearly 82 percent of all reported wrecks within the city limits. That continues on a downward trend over a four-year period.

Overall, the six-year trend in motor vehicle crashes has been steadily on the decline since 2006, from 318 that year to 161 in 2011. Property damage reports have fluctuated from 174 in 2006 to 131 in 2010. Injury crashes were at an overall high of 55 in 2006. The lowest number of crashes, 23, occurred in 2009. The last time Monett was the site of a fatality wreck was in 2008.

Camp attributes the decrease in wrecks to road improvements along Highway 60, one of the most traveled roads in the city.

"My youngest driver involved in a collision this past year was a 4-year-old," Camp said. "He got in his dad's truck and put it in gear like he'd seen his dad do, and the vehicle just rolled down a hill. The boy was not injured."

The month with the highest number of crashes for the year was October, with 24. That was followed by 20 crashes in September and 17 wrecks each in April, June and November.

Other months with high incidents of traffic wrecks were May, with 13, followed by January, March and December with 10 each.

Most crashes in 2011 occurred on a Tuesday (30), followed by Monday (28) and Friday (27). A total of 10 accidents were recorded on a Sunday with 21 on Wednesday and 22 on Thursday. The majority of wrecks, 62, took place during the noon to 4 p.m. time frame, followed by 35 crashes between the hours of 4 and 8 p.m. and 33 wrecks between 8 a.m. and noon. A total of 17 crashes took place between 4 and 8 a.m., with 11 wrecks occurring between 4 and 8 a.m. and three between 8 p.m. and midnight.

"When the four-hour blocks are further broken down, we see increases in motor vehicle collisions that are again consistent with traffic flow," Camp said. "We see increases between the seven and eight o'clock hours as motorists are traveling to work, at noon when they go to lunch, at the three o'clock hour as school lets out, and then again between four and five o'clock as motorists leave work."

Collisions are taking place in areas of high traffic volume.

Highway 60 and Chapell Drive topped the list as the site where the most wrecks occurred in 2011 with 15. Cleveland was the site of 13 crashes for the year. A total of 10 crashes occurred at the junction of Highways 60 and 37 and on Highway 60 at Kyler. Another 63 incidents occurred at other various locations within the city.

The major contributing factor involved in 43 of these incidents was a driver following another vehicle too closely. A total of 26 incidents were due to a driver failing to yield, 14 were caused by signal or sign violations, 16 were due by improper lane usage or changes and 12 were caused by alcohol usage.

Other contributing factors that were documented included: vehicle defects; excessive speed; driving too fast for the road conditions; improper passing; improper backing; going the wrong way on a one-way street; improper start from park; drugs; physical impairment; and inattention.

"The emerging trend in collisions this year was improper turn violations," Camp said. "Many people fail to realize they are supposed to turn right or left from an intersection into the nearest lane, establish themselves and then change lanes if needed.

"Overall, collisions are down for the five-year trend," Camp said. "There has been a 23 percent reduction in collisions over the past five years. The highest number of collisions comes from the 16-to-18 age bracket, followed those in the 40-to-42 age bracket."

Those ages 70 to 79 were involved in the fewest numbers of traffic crashes, Camp added.

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