Narrowing the Focus

Emphasis Areas 

The mission of Destination Safe is to reduce transportation-related fatalities and serious injuries. Previous iterations of the regional transportation safety plan outlined all of the top contributing crash factors and while this plan supports any action that positively influences safety, Destination Safe committee members and partners wanted to create a narrower focus of emphasis areas for a greater impact on the top contributing crash factors.

In 2020, Greater Kansas City experienced 256 fatalities bringing the five-year average to 255.4.

In 2020, Greater Kansas City experienced 1,228 serious injuries making the five-year average 1,291.

Kansas counties include Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami and Wyandotte. Missouri counties include Cass, Clay, Jackson, Johnson, Lafayette, Pettis, Platte, Ray and Saline.

To ensure the emphasis areas were based on a data-driven approach, the Destination Safe Data Subcommittee helped analyze crash data by reviewing top contributing factors as well as considering the region’s most vulnerable road users.

Below are examples of fatal and serious injury crash data used to inform the Data Subcommittee. These graphs show the number of fatal or serious injury crashes by contributing factors such as behavior, type of person, or infrastructure type. Fatal and serious injury crashes count the number of crashes in the 13-county Destination Safe region that resulted in one or more fatality or serious injury.

Fatal crashes by behavior

This graph compares 2020 fatal crashes organized by contributing behavior areas to the previous five-year average. The data shows that impaired, speeding, unlicensed, and unrestrained fatalities increased significantly in 2020. While unlicensed driving is a concern, the circumstances surrounding why any driver is unlicensed are unknown.

Serious injuries by type of road user

Similarly, this graph compares 2020 serious injury crashes sorted by type of road user to the previous year's five-year average. The most significant findings of this graph are the increase of pedestrian serious injuries and the large totals of youth-related injuries.

Fatal crashes by infrastructure

Lastly, this graph demonstrates the 2020 fatal crashes sorted by physical crash type/location to the previous five-year average. Nearly all of the categories demonstrate an increase in fatalities, so the Destination Safe Data Subcommittee compared the top two crash location areas with additional factors, as shown in the next graph. 

Comparing overlap of causes

This graph shows fatal and serious injury crashes that involved a fixed object and intersection, which then is further broken down into six other categories of top behavioral factors and vulnerable road users. While the fixed object crashes represent a higher percentage of distracted, impaired, speed and too fast for conditions crashes, the Destination Safe Data Subcommittee felt the over-representation of pedestrian-related fatal and serious injury crashes was more significant.

Emphasis areas

After the analysis, the Data Subcommittee shared its findings with the larger Destination Safe Committee. Members discussed concerns about not including additional types of people — such as young drivers — as an emphasis area. Ultimately it was decided that each of these categories could be the focus of outreach for any age group or type of person. The Destination Safe Committee voted to approve the following emphasis areas:

  • Seat belt use*
  • Speeding
  • Impaired driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Pedestrian
  • Intersections

By selecting these emphasis areas, Destination Safe is not limiting its outreach but encourages regional and local entities to use them as guidance for project prioritization. As such, the strategies of this plan indicate which of these areas would be positively affected.

*Seat belt use is inclusive of vehicle restraint types for all ages including car seats and boosters.

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