Arlington Heights Police Show Decrease in Number of Crashes Connected to Enforcement

During past several years, the total number of traffic crashes in the nation has experienced a steady increase, reaching a 10-year high in 2016. Conversely, total traffic crashes in the Village of Arlington Heights reached a 15-year low in 2018 with the second consecutive year of declining crash figures, According to the Arlington Heights Police Department.

Between 2016 and 2017, Arlington Heights experienced an 8.8% decrease in the total number of traffic crashes. Similarly, between 2017 and 2018, the total number of traffic crashes decreased by 5.6%. In 2004, there were 2,562 personal injury and property damage traffic crashes on Arlington Heights roadways, while in 2018 there were only 1,742 traffic crashes recorded, representing a 32% decrease in crashes during this time period.

Arlington Heights Crash Data 2004-2018
Arlington Heights Crash Data 2004-2018 (SOURCE: Arlington Heights Police Department).

The incidence of a traffic crash can be affected by various factors, such as roadway construction and uncharacteristic weather conditions during the seasons. However, the Arlington Heights Police Department has continued to rely on historical traffic crash data to direct its resources. Officers are routinely deployed to conduct extra traffic enforcement at locations with the highest incidence of traffic crashes. Driver behaviors, such as speeding and distracted driving, are typically targeted based on analysis of historical traffic crash influences at each location. During 2017 and 2018, the Arlington Heights Police Department issued over 11,000 total hazardous moving violation citations, such as speeding and disregarding traffic control devices. Additionally, officers issued over 3,200 distracted driving citations over the past two years. This resulted in over 1 out of every 4 citations occuring at one of the top ten highest traffic crash intersection locations.

In addition to these efforts, the department also recognizes the importance of citizen generated traffic complaints as a means to identify trouble areas before traffic crashes occur. The department utilizes a system of addressing such traffic complaints through not only additional patrols, but also through site-based evaluations and implementation of traffic calming devices. As an example, many speeding related complaints are evaluated by means of a week-long survey, which records the number of vehicles travelling in a particular area, including their associated speeds. The information is analyzed, providing police officers with accurate data regarding the exact extent of the traffic problem, as well as days and times with the highest incidence of speeding vehicles. The department also utilizes traffic calming devices, such as radar speed indicator signs. These signs provide drivers with a visual indicator of their speed, warning motorists to slow down and observe the posted speed limit. Data has shown these signs typically increase overall compliance with posted speed limits by 30-60%. During 2018, speed indicators signs were placed at nearly 80 different locations throughout the village, providing over 61,000 hours of visual motorist speed warning.

Promotional video from ‘radarsign’ which is the company that the Arlington Heights Police Department uses for Driver Feedback Signs (Radar Speed Indicator Signs) on streets in Arlington Heights.

An assessment of these enforcement initiatives has proven highly effective, according to Arlington Heights Police Department. Between 2017 and 2018, enforcement efforts at the top ten highest traffic crash intersection locations contributed to an 18% decrease in the total traffic crashes at those locations.

Conversely, analysis of intersections not included in the targeted intersections list, showed an approximate increase of in the total number of traffic crashes by 6%. The previous year comparison from 2016 to 2017 showed similar results with an overall 9% decrease at the top rated intersections.

Prioritizing the most significant traffic crash locations allowed for the greatest overall impact in traffic crash incidence and roadway safety, according to the Arlington Heights Police Department.

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