October 19, 2009

News Release

For Immediate Release

September Crash Report Card

There have been six fatality crashes in Springfield from Jan. 1 through Sept. 30, 2009, compared to 13 in the same period last year. The number of injury crashes increased 2 percent, while the number of total crashes decreased by 1 percent, respectively, compared to the same period last year. Despite a high number of bicycle and pedestrian crashes in early 2009, bike crashes for the first nine months of 2009 are down by 12 instances over the same period last year, from 55 to 43. Pedestrian crashes are up by three instances (from 34 to 37) over the same period last year. There have been no fatal crashes reported in 2009 involving either a pedestrian or bicyclist. Traffic crash statistics are tracked by the Public Works Department.

Download the September 2009 Crash Report Card

October Safety Message

The traffic safety theme for the month of October addresses pedestrian safety. Many pedestrian crashes have occurred at mid-block locations without a stop sign or signal. Pedestrians are urged to refrain from crossing streets at mid-block locations and are encouraged to cross streets at intersections, especially those with marked crosswalks and/or stop signs or traffic signals.

Traffic Signals with Pedestrian Safety Features – Pedestrian safety features are provided at designated pedestrian crosswalks with pavement markings and special warning signs at and in advance of the designated crosswalk. It is important for motorists to recognize these warning signs and markings and be prepared to yield to a pedestrian crossing in the crosswalk. It is also important for pedestrians to watch all traffic, whether approaching or turning into the crosswalk, and selecting a gap in traffic flow, which will allow enough time for crossing without stepping out in front of an oncoming vehicle.

At traffic signals, special “Walk/Don’t Walk” signals are often provided, which must be activated by pushing a button for pedestrians located on the corners of the intersection. It is important for all pedestrians, not just younger pedestrians, to understand that if there is a pedestrian pushbutton located at a signalized intersection, it must be activated for two reasons: the activation is necessary to obtain a “Walk” signal to indicate the appropriate time to cross in the signal cycle; and, the traffic signal timing is extended to allow more crossing time for the pedestrian.

These safety measures can greatly enhance our citizens’ safety if used correctly. However, a walk light or a crosswalk does not guarantee a safe passage and approaching motorists may not see the pedestrian or always yield. When crossing at an intersection with a green traffic signal or a “walk” indication, pedestrians need to especially watch out for all approaching vehicles and those that may be making right turns across their path from the adjacent streets.

School Children – Drivers should be especially alert for children walking to school along residential streets and other streets leading to school. In 2008, the City of Springfield reduced the speed limit on neighborhood streets to 25 mph to enhance the safety of all pedestrians and bicyclists using local streets, especially school children. School areas have numerous school-related signs, which have been supplemented with highly reflective sleeves on the signposts to inform motorists when they are in areas of high pedestrian concentrations. Reduced school speed zones on the frontage to many schools have been supplemented with active yellow flashing warning beacons to indicate the times when school children are present. Crosswalks are supplemented with adult crossing guards on more heavily-traveled streets that are the most difficult for younger school children to cross.

Daylight Savings Time – Clocks should be set back one hour at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1, to revert back to Standard Time. When this occurs, sunrise and sundown will occur earlier. During the winter months with more hours of darkness it becomes even more important for motorists to exercise care driving within neighborhoods and around the city by looking out for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Halloween – The Halloween holiday on Saturday, Oct. 31, brings out many young children in hours of darkness and motorists are reminded to anticipate the presence of the children on streets in neighborhoods, and to drive with care. Parents are strongly encouraged to accompany their children to help ensure their safety.

Drive Responsibly – Motorists are encouraged to “Drive Responsibly.” One of the ways residents can help make Springfield a safer community is to join our “Pace Car” program. Participants place a decal in their rear window and set a good example in their neighborhood by setting the pace by driving 25 mph on neighborhood streets. For more information, call the Traffic Engineering Division at (417) 864-1980 or sign up online: www.springfieldmo.gov/traffic/safety.html. The same Web page also provides walking route maps for each Springfield elementary school, suggesting the route to follow from home to school based on traffic safety and the location of special protections provided along the route to school for their child.

city of springfield

Department of Public Works

840 Boonville Avenue • P.O. Box 8368 • Springfield, MO 65801
417-864-1900 • springfieldmo.gov