Because we are home to the state capitol, Sacramento is obviously one of California's most stand-out cities. But unfortunately, not everything we are known for is worth bragging about. Our driving safety record, for instance, is nothing to be proud of.
Recently, the state Office of Traffic Safety released 2010 car accident data, along with safety rankings of major cities. According to the data, Sacramento continues to have the worst rating of 13 comparably sized cities when it comes to number of overall injury crashes, and is among the worst in drunk driving accidents.
Our "composite ranking" has been the worst among large California cities for five years in a row, even surpassing Los Angeles, which was second-worst.
Why does Sacramento have so many car accidents? The fact that speed-related crashes were a common theme in the data might show that our city just has a lot of bad drivers. Others say, however, that outside commuters and visitors from around the county might be adding to our alcohol-related crash numbers because they frequent Sacramento's bars and restaurants.
Whatever the specific reasons, one thing is clear: the streets of Sacramento are often dangerous, especially for pedestrians and bicyclists. Among the 13 large cities, Sacramento ranks third highest for the number of bicyclists who get hit by drivers.
One piece of good news is that traffic deaths and injuries in Sacramento showed steady decline between 2006 and 2010. But it should be noted that this reflects a similar national trend.
Hopefully, this troubling data will lead city and county leaders to finally address the issue aggressively. With so many legislative and financial resources concentrated in Sacramento, there is no reason we should have to maintain such an abysmal record of traffic safety.
Source: Sacramento Bee, "Back-seat Driver: Sacramento again has worst crash rating of California's largest cities," Tony Bizjak, April 6, 2012