ST. CHARLES – The number of traffic accidents in St. Charles last year declined by 3 percent, mainly due to a drop in non-injury crashes, according to the St. Charles Police Department's 2012 annual report.
Of the 974 crashes – down from 999 in 2011 – 148 involved injuries, police reported, noting 149 injury-related accidents happened in 2011.
For the second consecutive year, none of the accidents involved fatalities.
"Response has become quicker and more efficient with both fire and police to injury accidents, which helps greatly," police spokesperson Paul McCurtain said.
He credited education and awareness and traffic safety grants as other reasons why no fatalities occurred. During the traffic safety campaigns made possible by state grants, officers made 25 drunken driving arrests, issued 127 seat belt citations, wrote 67 speeding tickets, cited six for driving without insurance and issued 45 citations for other violations, according to the report.
The number of alcohol-related injury crashes reportedly declined from eight to six, a reduction of about 25 percent.
Enforcement also plays a key role in reducing accidents, McCurtain said. Using the top 10 crash locations as a starting point, he said, the police department focuses its resources more on the locations where the most accidents occur. For example, police reported, 40 percent of the speed-related citations and 40 percent of tickets for other moving violations were written in areas identified as the 2011 top 10 crash areas.
In 2012, the top crash locations were along Randall Road and Main Street, particularly where East Main Street was under construction and experienced numerous lane re-configurations, according to the report.
Police expect the number of accidents along East Main Street will decline once the road is reconstructed to include a center left turn lane, McCurtain said.
"We're so happy that's going to be finished," he said. "That should drastically reduce the number of rear-end collisions we've had on Main Street."
The road construction, along with the red light camera at Route 31 and Main Street, likely contributed to the reduction of speed-related crashes, McCurtain said.
According to the report, speed-related injury accidents dropped from 67 to 52, or about 22 percent. Similarly, police reported, speed-related accidents without injuries fell by about 17 percent, from 369 to 306.
Also in 2012, hit-and-run crashes declined by 29 percent; crashes involving pedestrians dropped by 71 percent; the number of seat belt citations increased by 56 percent; and the number of tickets issued for not using child safety seats increased by 50 percent, according to the report. It noted the occupant restraint increases were mainly due to seat belt enforcement zones.
By the numbers:
Top 10 crash locations for 2012
• 21 crashes – 800 block of South Randall Road • 18 crashes – 600 block of South Randall Road • 17 crashes – 3800 block of East Main Street • 16 crashes – 4000 block of East Main Street • 16 crashes – 500 block of South Randall Road • 11 crashes – 1600 block of East Main Street • 10 crashes – 100 block of West Main Street • 10 crashes – 1500 block of East Main Street • 10 crashes – 200 block of West Main Street • 10 crashes – 2500 block of East Main Street
Top 10 crash intersections for 2012
• 11 crashes – South Second Street and Illinois Street • 9 crashes – West Main Street and Second Street • 8 crashes – Randall Road and Prairie Street • 7 crashes – Illinois Avenue and 38th Avenue • 7 crashes – Prairie Street and South Third Street • 7 crashes – Randall Road and West Main Street • 7 crashes – Kautz/Smith Road and East Main Street • 6 crashes – Kirk Road and Swenson Avenue • 6 crashes – Randall Road and Lincoln Highway • 6 crashes – Kirk Road and East Main Street
Source: 2012 St. Charles Police Department annual report