Naperville crashes down slightly in 2016
There were 102 crashes last year at the most dangerous intersection in Naperville -- up from 73 at the most crash-prone site in 2015, police said.
While the number of crashes at Route 59 and North Aurora Road climbed 29 higher than the number at 2015's most dangerous crossing, Route 59 and I-88, Cmdr. Ken Parcel said there's still good news within last year's accident data.
Collisions at 59 and North Aurora were less severe than in the past, he said, and crashes at the two intersections most affected by the redesign of the tollway interchange at Route 59 and I-88 both saw a reduction from the previous year's crash totals.
In addition, the total number of crashes reported citywide decreased by 146 from 3,503 in 2015 to 3,357 in 2016.
The top intersection for accidents in 2015 decreased from 73 to 53 crashes in 2016, tying for sixth-highest in the city. The intersection with the second-highest number of crashes in 2015, Route 59 and Diehl Road, fell from 67 to 47 last year, landing at No. 8.
The decreases come after a $90 million project concluded in November 2015 to widen a 3-mile stretch of Route 59 and redesign the tollway interchange into a diverging diamond, designed to eliminate left turns across traffic.
"The re-engineering of that entire very congested roadway was to reduce our accidents," Parcel said. "And it has. That re-engineering has worked."
Parcel says police are pleased crashes decreased by 20 each at the two crossings closest to the new interchange. But farther south into the former work zone at Route 59 and North Aurora Road, the positive effect didn't carry over.
The spot has been crash-prone in the past as well, with 60 in 2015 to come in third place and 75 in 2014 -- the most reported at any Naperville site that year. Parcel said an early review of reports shows the 102 crashes last year didn't cause as severe of injuries as in the past.
Poor driver behavior -- excessive speed, tailgating and distracted driving, be it by a GPS, a computerized dashboard or a cellphone -- leads to many crashes.
"There's a lot to be distracted by even if you are following all the laws," Parcel said.
Naperville police continue to enforce distracted driving laws and speed limits, he said, while educating about precautions to increase safety. The department plans to continue weekly social media postings it began in 2016 to alert drivers to places where extra patrols will be visible.
Naperville's top crash intersectionsNaperville police statistics show these 10 intersections saw the most crashes in 2016:
1. Route 59 and North Aurora Road: 102
2. 75th Street and Naper Boulevard: 71
3. 75th Street and Washington Street: 63
4. Route 59 and 111th Street/Hassert Boulevard: 59
5. Aurora Avenue and Ogden Avenue: 55
6. 75th Street and Book Road: 53
6. Route 59 and I-88: 53
8. Route 59 and Diehl Road: 47
9. Ogden Avenue and Naper Boulevard: 45
10. 75th Street and Naperville/Plainfield Road/Rickert Drive: 43