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Glenn & Judy Schreuder | Feb 27, 2017

The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) finally released its 2014 data of its 'relative' ranking of California counties by Vehicular Collisions. The rankings are given for years 2008-2014 here.

It takes forever for OTS to finish a year (in this case 2014) because they have to gather vehicular Collision data from over 360 separate police agencies in California and compile it into a statistically meaningful report. My understanding is the state uses this data to dole out highway funds (think 'blood alley' which was that stretch of Hwy 101 on the way to Salinas back in the 70's and 80's. Caltrans spent big $ to make it safer)

So how this highly statistical report works in broad, general terms is that it looks at:

  • Collision data from each of the 58 counties in California,
  • The number of accidents of different types, then,
  • The OTS compares that information to both the 'population of each county' and also the 'estimated number vehicle-miles driven in that county', then,
  • OTS develops this data into a ranking system whereby each county is ranked, apples to apples, against all other 58 county.

    So say for calendar year 2014, Napa County is the 7th worst county in California in the category of "Total Fatal and Injury" accidents. It's ranking is expressed as "7/58" or using words "Napa County is the 7th most dangerous (or worst) county out of the 58 counties in California when measuring the total number of fatal and injury accidents".

    I added a color coding scheme to help with the interpretation the data, please refer to the Color Coded Legend at the bottom of the page. This is solely my own idea and not that of the OTS. I did Napa County and Sonoma County.

    Napa Traffic Accidents 2008-12

    Sonoma Traffic Accidents 2008-12

    I think the data tells an important story but I will allow you draw your own conclusions regarding the meaning of this information.

    SR PressDemocrat LTE 2/26/17: Close to Home: Are Sonoma County's byways becoming inebriation highways?
    NBC 2/16/12: Driving Drunk In Wine Country

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