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Targeting danger

Grass Valley police have targeted high-crash areas and intersections with stepped-up patrols to bring accident rates down as traffic continues to increase.

The city’s aggressive campaign to write tickets to speeders and other unsafe drivers started at the beginning of the year, leading to 462 citations through September ” compared to 133 in all of 2006, according to a report the city police department released Friday.

Police believe more tickets have helped cut the accident levels for the first nine months of this year to 319, compared with 357 wrecks from January through September of 2006, a more than 10-percent drop.



“We’ve noticed a big difference,” said Sgt. Jason Perry. “We just did a target area around (Nevada Union High School), and we’ve seen a big reduction in the speeding around there.”

Now, police have turned their attention to the areas inside city limits with the highest number of crashes, Perry said. Officers are driving through and sitting more often in these areas:




– The South Auburn Street and Highway 174 area, including northbound and southbound access roads.

– Empire Street at Highway 20.

– West McKnight Way at Highway 49.

– East Main Street at Dorsey Drive.

– East Main Street at Idaho Maryland Road.

– Idaho-Maryland Road at Springhill Drive and Centennial Drive.

– Brunswick Road at Sutton Way.

The accidents in these areas often involve pedestrians, police officials said. Other common factors are failure to yield the right-of-way, speeding and running stop signs or stop lights.

The city’s campaign was a good idea for overall road safety, Nevada County Transportation Commission Executive Director Dan Landon said.

Landon noted the success the California Highway Patrol is having with what it calls Beat 31, the 11-mile stretch of Highway 49 between McKnight Way and the Placer County line at the Bear River bridge.

“The safety has improved significantly,” Landon said.

In 2005, 110 accidents occurred on that stretch, with eight fatalities, CHP Officer Jeff Pingree said. Last year, CHP officers jumped on that area, writing numerous tickets. Accidents plummeted to 69 in 2006, with three people killed.

Rumble strips installed early this year, which alert drifting drivers, most likely have helped as well.

So far this year, CHP officers remain aggressive in writing tickets, Pingree said. Since January, 49 crashes have occurred on the stretch, with no fatalities, he added.

“We were out there yesterday just south of McKnight, and we wrote 18 tickets in an hour,” Pingree said. “It’s made a huge difference in our accident and fatal totals.”

ooo

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail davem@theunion.com or call 477-4237.

Grass Valley accident statistics:

January to September 2007:

319 total, with 37 injury accidents

January to September 2006:

357 total, with 41 injury accidents

” Grass Valley

Police Department


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