Monday, April 15, 2019

Introduction: A series on Collision Data for Whatcom County and WA State

Please click to enlarge the charts below:
ABOVE: Screenshot for Governor's Highway Safety Association: US. Pedestrian Fatalities by Year

ABOVE: Screenshot from the FINAL-2018-PSAC-Annual-Report-.pdf for WA State

Click to enlarge the charts above. Below are four links to data posts from collision data for Whatcom County. In researching this topic I have surmised from the WSP Collision database the number of injuries and fatalities in Whatcom County over my 27 month study period (01/01/2017 - 04/01/2019). Because of the long data tables, these articles will not readable on a cell phone screen:

The "InjurySeverity" field of the WSP Collision data for my study marks motor vehicle trauma as one of the most important and devastating health problems in Whatcom County:

             InjurySeverity    N
1:      No Injury Collision 4964
2:   Minor Injury Collision 1681
3: Unknown Injury Collision  385
4: Serious Injury Collision  103
5:          Fatal Collision   41

Unless a traumatic collision happens to us, we often don't consider the terrible toll motor vehicle trauma has upon our lives and lives of our community. I believe part of this naivete is that we have well developed (in our country)  health and first responder procedures that quickly deal with the immediate accident and the aftermath.  For 2016 data, the CDC records the 38,748 US motor vehicles involved deaths as very close to the number of firearms deaths (38,658). The NHTSA is continuing to process 2017 and 2018 data.  Using 2013 data, the CDC cites the total costs of crash deaths in WA at $654M.  The WTSC  "Target Zero" data for Whatcom County gives us these tables for fatalities and serious injuries (from the Whatcom County 'Annual Comp' worksheet) for motor vehicle collisions:


2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
21 17 13 9 12 18 15 11 12 25

Serious Injuries

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
76 74 64 48 65 55 52 34 46 43

Pedestrian and Bicycle Data

Unfortunately, recent state and national data show pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities on the rise:
I believe what may be happening in Whatcom County, WA State and in growing urban and rural areas may be a the result of multivariate factors: increasing congestion, increasing drug and alcohol use, increasing status anxiety, and a dangerous mix of fast cars, distracted drivers and increasing pedestrian and bicyclists in our urban regions.   Unfortunately, vehicle collisions carry a terrible price: injury, death and pain. Understanding and alleviating the effect of motor vehicle trauma on our lives in Whatcom County should be of utmost importance.

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