Crashes With Injuries on the Rise, Fatal Wrecks Down in DC

WASHINGTON — Crashes involving injuries have been on the rise in the District in recent years, but the number of fatal collisions has dropped, according to a report compiled by the Howard University Transportation Research and Data Center.

The report, which was completed for the District Department of Transportation, details crash information over a three-year period stretching from the start of 2013 through 2015.

More than 65,000 crashes in the District were reported during that time. And each year, the numbers were progressively higher, according to the data.

In 2013, D.C. saw 19,456 crashes. That jumped up to 21,539 the following year and then to 24,265 in 2015. The change between the number of crashes in 2013 and the number at the end of 2015 represents an increase of nearly 25 percent.

“Things are bad when you look at the sheer number of crashes every year. But the number of fatalities continues to drop, and that’s what’s of paramount importance,” said John Townsend, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman.

Over the three-year period, the number of fatal collisions was highest in 2013 at 29. It dropped to 24 in 2014 and ticked up slightly to 26 in 2015.

Another drop in the data occurred with crashes involving bicyclists. In 2013, there were 652 such crashes, and 863 in 2014. However, in 2015, those crashes went down to 679, marking a decrease from the previous year of more than 21 percent.

The opposite happened with crashes involving pedestrians being struck, which spiked by nearly 20 percent between 2013 and 2015. They went from 1,038 in 2013 to 1,258 in 2014 and stayed basically unchanged the following year.

Nonfatal injuries resulting from all crashes also increased, going from 7,505 in 2013 to more than 8,000 in 2014 and to 8,341 in 2015.

Thousands of drivers from around the D.C. region were involved in crashes in the city, but D.C. residents stood out in the data.

“The (local) drivers most likely to be involved in a crash live in the District of Columbia,” Townsend said.

The report shows there were 41,430 drivers involved in crashes in 2015. Among those, 23 percent of drivers were from D.C., 19 percent were from Maryland and 8 percent were from Virginia.

Drivers from other jurisdictions made up 35 percent of crashes, and the remaining 15 percent were unknown. The report does not detail what those other jurisdictions were.

In 2015 – the last year the study covers, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced her Vision Zero initiative, which aims to bring the number of fatal traffic crashes in the District to zero by 2024.

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