Matthew Renda

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November 6, 2012
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Better safe than sorry

Nevada County ranks low in fatal traffic collisions, according to a recent data analysis performed by the California Highway Patrol and the Nevada County Public Works Department.

The county ranked 39th out of 58 counties with a rate of 5.71 fatalities per million vehicle miles traveled, said Steve Castleberry, director of county public works.

“I would love to take credit for this, but I am not sure that’s warranted,” Castleberry said in an email to The Union. “However, we are pretty strategic about how we manage the safety of our roads.”

While urban counties, Los Angeles County in particular, have significantly larger higher fatality amounts than rural counties, such as Nevada County, the highest rates take place in less densely populated areas.

Trinity County owns the highest rate, with 24.34 fatalities per million vehicle miles traveled.

Other rural counties, such as Sierra, Alpine, Del Norte, Amador and Lake, had the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth highest rates respectively, according to CHP data.

The fact that rural counties carry the highest rates indicates the challenges of improving road safety on rural mountainous roads, Castleberry said in the Friday memo, distributed by County Executive Officer Rick Haffey.

“Safety investments like signing and striping are always at the top of our list, and recent work out of Caltrans is showing those kinds of investments are the most cost effective, particularly in rural counties where accidents are spread out all over the county,” Castleberry said.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email or call (530) 477-4239.

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The Union Updated Nov 6, 2012 07:05AM Published Nov 6, 2012 08:39PM Copyright 2012 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.