Reno County, which is located just northwest of Wichita, had a total of 1,274 crashes in 2017, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT). Nine of them were fatal and another 267 resulted in injuries. Statewide, there were 58,829 crashes.
In order to help bring these numbers down, the Reno County Commission recently approved an initiative that could potentially reduce the number of serious crashes.
How Reno County is leading by example
Reno County transportation officials seek to implement a local road safety plan as part of a new requirement of the KDOT to receive funding for road construction projects, The Hutchinson News reports.
The safety plan includes an engineering agreement between county officials, KDOT, and Wichita engineering firm Kirkham Michael & Associates. The purpose of this plan is to identify roadways and intersections with the highest crash rates throughout the county and devise a strategy to make improvements.
“Any intersection that we have or curve that we have," said Public Works Director Dave McComb. "We look at the accident rates and also a list of countermeasures appropriate for those routes.”
McComb anticipates that this effort will take between a year and 18 months to complete. It will also cover all major and minor collector routes throughout the county.
After an extensive review of the crash history of a certain area, about 90 percent of the costs could be covered by state and federal funds. The rest could be covered by local sources. Getting the funding, however, isn't easy, according to McComb.
“You’re not going to get funding without a safety plan,” he said.
Are infrastructural changes effective enough at curbing serious accidents in Kansas?
The state of Kansas could take some cues from Reno County officials. Intersections, in particular, are a dangerous place for Kansas drivers. According to KAKE, two people were killed in a fiery collision at an uncontrolled intersection in Finney County over the summer.
An intersection on U.S. 50, just north of Sylvia, has also caught the attention of KDOT after two fatal crashes occurred within a 50-day period, according to The Hutchinson News. Following a deadly crash in May, KDOT's Traffic Engineering Section was requested to look for any changes that need to be made to the intersection.
Infrastructural changes on Kansas roads may help lessen the severity of crashes and sometimes prevent them entirely. Serious and fatal crashes are almost always caused by driver negligence, however, such as speeding, driver distraction, alcohol and drug impairment, and drowsiness.
If you were injured in a crash or lost a loved one because of someone else's reckless actions, speak to an attorney at Bretz & Young Injury Lawyers as soon as possible. We have a reputation for successfully representing injured motorists across the state of Kansas and have the case results to prove it. Don't hesitate, contact our law office today and set up your free consultation.