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Injury Rates Higher on Smaller Roads

Accident statistics don't paint a pretty picture of New Canaan's winding New England roads.

New Canaan Police are adjusting their strategy when it comes to traffic enforcement. Since the start of the year, officers have been directed to spend more time monitoring roads where the accident rates are higher, instead of focusing on the busiest thoroughfares.

As you might expect, there were hundreds of accidents on New Canaan's downtown crossroads between January 2007 and November 2009; the 261 accidents on Elm and Main Streets alone accounted for nearly a fifth of all incidents during that period. But most of those were the result of low-speed parking and backing-out gaffs. Only nine—less than 4 percent—resulted in injury.

But head up New Canaan's windy, less-traveled, roads, where drivers are speeding around curves and riding bumpers and you could be looking for real trouble. Over the last three years, there were just four accidents on Greenley Road, for example, but someone got hurt in two of those. On Michigan Road the ratio was 3/8; on Lukes Wood Road it was 3/9; on Jelliff Mill the ratio was 4/13; Brushy Ridge 2/5. 

"A road like Greenley—the accident rate isn't that high, but when you get in one it isn't going to be a good situation," said Lt. Frederick Pickering, who compiled the accident statistics. "Our first goal needs to be to reduce injuries."

Pickering says police are also now picking from streets with high accident rates in choosing routes for monthly patrol directives. And he says officers are now being encouraged not just to look for speeding, but tailgating too.

"We constantly give out speeding tickets," he said, but, "in a lot of accidents, speed is not the factor."

The lieutenant says targeted enforcement campaigns have paid off in the past, like on Frogtown Road where speed traps and added signage have caused the accident rate to fall. But it's a slow process.

"Just that one street is hundreds and hundreds of man hours... It will take years to show a true reduction in accidents."

In the meantime drivers should be aware that they can get hurt or cause injury even on a small street.

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Total Number of Accidents Jan. 1, 2007 - Nov. 1, 2009:

  • 1,358 with property damage only
  • 150 involved injuries

 

Roads with the Highest Injury Rates, Jan. 1 2007 - Nov. 1, 2009:

  1. Little Brook Road 4/8
  2. Greenley Road—2/4
  3. Michigan Road—3/8
  4. Brushy Ridge Road—2/5
  5. Bank Street—4/12
  6. Lukes Wood Road—3/9
  7. Heritage Hill Road—2/6
  8. Hickock Road—1/3
  9. Marvin Ridge Road—1/3
  10. Jelliff Mill—4/13
  11. Parade Hill Road—1/4
  12. Ferris Hill Road—1/4
  13. Weed Street—10/42
  14. N. Wilton Road—3/13
  15. Silvermine Road—8/36

 

Roads with the Largest Overall Accident Totals, Jan. 1, 2007 - Nov. 1, 2009:

  1. Elm Street—134
  2. South Avenue—138
  3. Main Street—114
  4. Park Street—77
  5. New Norwalk Road—64
  6. Farm Road—59
  7. Old Stamford Road—57
  8. Cherry Street—50
  9. Weed Street—42
  10. Pine Street—38

 

Roads With the Most Injury Accidents, Jan. 1, 2007 - Nov. 1, 2009: 

  1. South Avenue—12
  2. Old Stamford Road—10
  3. Weed Street—10
  4. New Norwalk Road—9
  5. Silvermine Road—8
  6. Smith Ridge Road—7 (including one fatal)
  7. Main Street—7
  8. Oenoke Ridge Road—7

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