|Oct 12, 2011
It takes more than good driving
By Councilmember Jack Sellers
It took more than good driving to earn “Best Driver” designation
Last month, the Allstate Insurance Company released its seventh annual “America’s Best Drivers Report” using the company’s accident claim data to identify which cities have the safest drivers. Allstate’s auto insurance policies represent about 10 percent of all U.S. auto policies, making the report a realistic snapshot of what’s happening on America’s roadways.
Chandler ranked fourth out of the nation’s 200 largest cities; quite an accomplishment and something each of us who call Chandler home should be proud of. According to the report, the average driver in Chandler will experience an auto collision every 12.6 years, which is 21 percent less likely than the national average of one accident every 10 years.
Chandler drivers were ranked 45th safest in the nation in 2005, the first year that Allstate published their Best Drivers Report. And while each of us in Chandler can take pride in the role our individual driving habits played in improving our ranking to 4th best in the nation, I believe that all of us collectively, as a community, are due some credit as well.
I say this because as a community, we in Chandler have invested millions of dollars in traffic safety and street improvements that most assuredly have helped lower our accident rate. We’ve invested in traffic studies and planning efforts to help us identify priorities and make the most of our resources. And we’ve participated in bond committees and elections, commissions and public meetings that have guided the development of our transportation infrastructure.
Since Allstate’s original 2005 report, we have constructed, widened or otherwise rebuilt over 25 major streets and intersections. We have invested in our state-of-the-art Traffic Management Center where Signal System Analysts monitor the City’s intersections to ensure smooth traffic flow. And we have maintained our red light and speed-on-green cameras at the City’s 12 most accident-prone intersections to help reduce accidents and injuries.
Even some of our smaller projects have made a difference, such as constructing dedicated right turn lanes at miscellaneous intersections where full-blown widening wasn’t feasible. Or building bus bays and pullouts and extending turn lanes to get turning vehicles safely out of the flow of traffic.
We’ve implemented traffic calming efforts in our neighborhoods, installed illuminated street name signs at major intersections, and made the lettering on connecting side streets larger and easier to read to reduce driver indecision. Thousands of hours are spent sweeping debris from our streets, re-striping the white and yellow lines that define our traffic lanes, and repairing and resurfacing our streets to ensure they remain safe to drive on.
Our police department invests heavily in traffic enforcement and education efforts to address dangerous behaviors that compromise traffic safety. Traffic officers are frequently deployed to areas of the city where traffic violations are problematic, which in many cases are based on citizen complaints of traffic violations in particular neighborhoods.
Our officers dedicate time to high visibility activities such as monitoring solid lines, stop signs and school bus stops, or patrolling locations where neighbors complain about careless drivers or areas characterized by licensed drinking establishments. All these efforts result in safer roadways and streets and fewer fatalities and injuries.
So give yourself a pat on the back citizens of Chandler for the contribution you’ve made both individually and collectively to the safety of our community. I’m proud to share the road with you and sincerely thank you for the investment you continue to make in your City.