Yesterday’s post — citing Police Department statistics refuting the idea on “06880” and other blogs of a recent upsurge in automobile accidents — brought plenty of comments. And a few private emails.
One came from Dale Call, the deputy chief who sent out the info I quoted. In the interest of continuing this conversation — and because, let’s face it, who wants to get on the cops’ bad side? — I’m passing along his latest thoughts.
First, he says, “06880” commenter Diane Cady — who wrote
this is not just about motor vehicle accidents. This is about dangerous driving — the step before the accident. Speeding, talking on cell phone, disregarding stop signs and speed limits unfortunately signifies a certain disrespect for others, and a sense of entitlement. It is, also, putting life at risk —
However, Dale adds, the “car stop” numbers he included were part of the department’s effort to stop “poor and dangerous driving behavior before those accidents occur.”
Second, Dale says, we should stop calling them “accidents,” and instead say “crashes.”
“Too many of these are the result of someone doing something dumb or dangerous, and being perfectly aware that that is the case.” The result, Dale notes, is no “accident.”
Finally, he notes, the number of “minor”
accidents crashes — the fender-bender types — can be trended by looking at the number of reported incidents in private parking lots. Most are reported only for insurance purposes, Dale says, and they’ve stayed fairly consistent: around 300 a year, for the past 10 years.
“Serious” crashes are down by 52% over the past decade.
“Better cars? More enforcement?” Dale asks.
“I don’t know. But whatever the reason, I think everyone should be glad to see that kind of reduction.”
Still, we need to be careful — of the way we drive, and of the way others do.
As another cop – Sgt. Phil Esterhaus — always said: “Hey, be careful out there.”