Law enforcement plots strategy for roadway safety using TITAN
by GREG KAYLOR, Banner Staff Writer
Jan 02, 2013 | 1272 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The state of Tennessee and all localized law enforcement agencies have a system used for tracking data related to vehicle-related crashes and other traffic incidents.

Tennessee’s Integrated Traffic Analysis Network, also known as TITAN, has revealed some interesting facts about 2012’s fatal roadway incidents, and local and state officials have laid plans to improve public safety while maintaining vigilant enforcement.

TITAN tracks and maps crash data from law enforcement users so strategic enforcement and planning processes can be utilized by officials to cut down crashes in particular areas.

Twenty-three people have died on Bradley County roads and Cleveland streets, and the Interstate 75 system treks approximately 30 miles through Bradley County and portions of the city.

Capt. W.G. Campbell of the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office noted several interesting facts have been recorded as TITAN data.

“Only one fatal crash occurred west of I-75 this year. Three people died on North Lee Highway within a short stretch in the Bellfounte community and 13 deaths have occurred due to car crashes in the city limits,” Campbell said.

Tennessee Highway Patrol officials noted the urban traffic fatality rate is up significantly, especially in Bradley County and the city of Cleveland.

During the past years, the most dangerous intersection in Cleveland has been 25th Street at Keith Street, according to Cleveland Police Department data.

The location has changed and now the intersection of Mouse Creek at Paul Huff is noted in data as a hot spot for vehicle crashes.

Keith and 25th streets fell into the No. 2 slot with Keith and North Ocoee rounding out the top three.

The Keith Street corridor continues to be the area where most crashes are reported but Paul Huff Parkway is listed as second in the report.

Most crashes occur between 3 and 5 p.m. The busiest day is Fridays.

Keith Street is the most prevalent for crashes. It is followed by Paul Huff Parkway, 25th Street, Georgetown Road and Treasury Drive as the top five locations where crashes are reported.

In 2008, red light cameras were activated at several intersections in the city.

Cameras were mounted at intersections of high incidence — where most traffic crashes occur according to law enforcement data.

They were placed at Paul Huff Parkway/Stuart Road at North Lee Highway, Keith Street at Raider Drive, Keith Street at 20th Street, Keith Street at 25th Street and 25th Street at Peerless Road.

In 2007 before the cameras were placed, there were 56 crashes at Paul Huff and Keith Street, with 59 reported in 2008. Post camera data indicated crashes had decreased to 20.

Data also noted 25th and Keith streets’ numbers declined from 46 in 2008 to 23 in 2009.

The cameras were deactivated 18 months later.

The city of Chattanooga has taken a different approach with traffic enforcement by introducing mobile speed cameras mounted in police vans which can be moved from one location to another and mounted on tripods, according to reports.

Driver inattention was pegged as a factor in the increase in traffic fatalities in 2012.

Phone technology, eating while driving, tuning the car’s stereo, drivers who are putting on makeup — all have been factors involved and discovered through crash investigation, according to Campbell. In Tennessee and many other states it is unlawful to simultaneously drive and send and/or read text messages.

“Vehicle safety has also come into question,” Campbell said.

“Vehicles with tires with little tread will not hold to the roadway. We have had cases where the tires were severely worn, brakes not adequate and other parts not in good condition which have helped contribute to crashes,” Campbell said.

An increase in traffic due to Bradley County’s growth could also be a factor in the shifts of why and where crashes are occurring.

THP Lt. John Harmon said data also indicate an increase in school bus involved crashes.

One fatal crash reported on North Lee Highway involved a special needs bus.

Campbell said the area between the city of Charleston, south toward Cleveland is being researched by Tennessee Department of Transportation officials.

Guardrails could be placed in the area where three people died this year.

The area has deep egresses from the roadway and trees that line the Highway 11 corridor toward Charleston. Vehicles typically overturn or strike the trees if they leave the roadway, according to Campbell.

The months of March, May and August show the highest fatality rate statewide. Also, statewide figures indicated the number of senior drivers involved in fatal crashes increased from 176 in 2011 to 187 this year to date.

Unrestrained occupants also increased in 2012, despite heavy enforcement and education on seat belt laws.

As of the close of 2012, more than 1,000 people had died on the state’s roadways, up from 933 in 2011.