The Commute

An informative and entertaining discussion on our ferries and highways with Kitsap Sun reporters.
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Remember The Carnage When We Were Young?

May 7th, 2008 by ed friedrich

I’m thinking of writing a story based on being an old-timer. Seems like when I was growing up in SK, there were nasty, bloody wrecks all the time, way more than now. Highway 16, if I remember right, was one lane in each direction with no median. People trying to pass when they couldn’t see far enough ahead or didn’t have enough room led to some nasty crashes. And there were lots of cross streets. Nelson’s Corner, which used to intersect Highway 16 between Sedgwick and Mullenix roads, was one of the worse.
Now, with medians and overpasses and those chain things that are supposed to keep you from going into incoming traffic, it seems you have to be really stupid or really drunk to crack up your car on the highway compared with the old days. It’d be neat to compare the accident and death rates from the different eras if I could get them.
How do you remember those days, say 1960s and 1970s? What would you be interested in reading about?

6 Responses to “Remember The Carnage When We Were Young?”

  1. Cean Says:

    I was in a crash on the old Highway 16, in the mid 1960s. Everyone in our lane, headed toward Tacoma, had stopped so that someone ahead of us could wait to make a left turn. The car behind us did not stop. After that, I always felt a little apprehension about driving on Highway 16, even after it was divided and “improved.”

    Fortunately for us, the guy had insurance.

    How bad was it then? Did the statistics contribute to funding the “improvement?”

  2. Monty Mahan Says:

    When I worked at Kitsap County Public Works in the 1990′s I proposed that we graph accidents before and after road safety improvements to see if our projects were actually improving safety.

    The response was “we don’t have the staff to do that.”

    It was ridiculous then, and it is ridiculous now. We should be able to accurately chart accident locations, severity and rates and compare them to when improvements were made. We have all the reports on file, after all.

    Monty Mahan

  3. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    I don’t recall the ‘old’ day roads and highways being places of almost constant slaughter that we read about today.

    In fact I can’t think of one person I know injured or killed on our roads.

    Seems to me – without facts to back it up – that our roads are far more dangerous today than they were in the 1950′s, 60′s and 1970′s.
    Sharon O’Hara

  4. Anonymous Says:

    In the good ol’ days, (1950s,1960s, and 1970s) traffic deaths numbered over 1,000 per year in Washington State. Numbers now down to high 500s to low to mid 600s.

    Here in Kitsap we experience about 20 fatalities each year. County Commissioners have yet to get it. One county commissioner thinks memorial signs are a distraction to drivers, but no mention of advertising and other sign distractions along our roadways.

    If you want traffic stats try Washington State Traffic Safety Commission website. Governor is the Commission’s Chair. How’s that for knowing where the buck continues to get passed?

    Other source for stats is Fatality Reporting System (FARS) sponsored by our National Department of Transportation and available at that Dept’s website.

    Fatalities now concentrated on rural area roads versus ol’ days of urban area roads.

    What I’d be interested in reading about is what we are really doing about Target Zero, Washington State’s goal of eliminating traffic deaths and serious injuries by the year 2030?

    Are we on track to get ‘er done? Or is it another of those !@# #$%^ platitudes, which we’ve been fed for at least the past twenty years?

    Why not get Target Zero done by the year 2020, if not 2010, vice 2030?

  5. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    1994 – 2006 fatality rate

    640 653 712 674 662 637 631 649 658 600 567 649 630 -1.56%
    http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/States/StatesFatalitiesFatalityRates.aspx

    Good sites…but if we ranged at 1000 fatalities in the 1950 – 1970 years and dropped to 640 by 2006 we have increased based on the following figures.

    Fatalities Rate per 100 Million Vehicle Miles Traveled

    1.35 1.33 1.44 1.32 1.27 1.21 1.18 1.21 1.20 1.09 1.02 1.17 1.11 -17.78%

    Where do we get the stats for Target Zero?

    We could easily get there sooner if we’re willing to take responsible driving seriously make drivers responsible.

    The first time offender should pay dearly for the lapse in judgment. If the sentencing is stiff enough, our driving laws might be taken seriously by that driver and those who follow him/her.

    Loss of driving license is a given. If a youth – confiscate the parents car/s.

    Begin confiscating vehicles involved in crashes involving alcohol and confiscate every vehicle owned/part owned by the driver or the drivers spouse.

    Put the responsibility back on the driver, not our society not the liquor company. Nothing should mar the wake-up call for justice. Commit the crime, do the time -as a start.

    So…what is the holdup for making the success of Target Zero a reality for 2010?
    Sharon O’Hara

  6. GentleReader Says:

    Yes, it would be nice to NEVER have any accidents that results in a death or injury, however, this is not realistic. It doesn’t matter if the person has been drinking, doing drugs or is stone cold sober, there will always be accidents. A person can have a heart attack driving…or other medical condition. Does this make the situation okay that they caused an accident? No…but, it happens. If this is what you want, then get rid of the vehicles and let’s go back to the horse and buggy days, because you are both dreaming. With the cost of gas, maybe that is what we should do.