While the population in Salem has grown, the number of traffic accidents and traffic injuries has skyrocketed.

The U.S. Census states Salem saw a population increase of 9.7 percent between 2010 and 2017. However, between 2010 and 2016, Salem saw an increase in crashes of 76 percent and an increase in injuries of 62 percent.

Jump in accidents, injuries

The Oregon Department of Transportation recently released a summary of 2016 traffic crash statistics. A look back at the last seven years in Salem shows:

  • 2016 – 3,135 crashes, six fatalities and 2,509 injuries
  • 2015 – 2,854 crashes, 11 fatalities and 2,302 injuries
  • 2014 – 2,565 crashes, eight fatalities and 2,115 injuries
  • 2013 – 2,611 crashes, three fatalities and 1,909 injuries
  • 2012 – 2,430 crashes, eight fatalities and 1,735 injuries
  • 2011 – 2,449 crashes, three fatalities and 1,584 injuries
  • 2010 – 2,380 crashes, seven fatalities and 1,557 injuries

Who was injured where and when?

The state Department of Transportation’s Traffic Crash Summary collects police reports following accidents. The report found that in 2016 in Salem:

  • More women (1,442) than men (1,066) were injured in traffic accidents
  • The majority of accidents occurred by following too closely (1,283), failing to yield (738) and improper driving (662)
  • The road condition was almost always dry (2,134) as opposed to wet (810) or snowy/icy (79)
  • Although the residence of the drivers was not stated in many of the accident reports, of those that were the vast majority were local drivers (2,921) as opposed to in-state residents (219) or out-of-state residents (101)
  • Accidents almost always happened in daylight (2,327) and not at night (660) or at dawn or dusk (141)
  • Most vehicles struck each other in a rear-end collision (1,345) or at an angle (1,086) and not head-on (18), sideswiped while overtaking (218) or backed into (28)

Note that the numbers don’t always add up to the same total. That’s because not all the police reports were filled out with all the information. They do, however, give us an idea of trends.

Salem had a population in 2016 of nearly 170,000 with more than 2,500 people injured in accidents. If you or a loved one in involved in an accident, contact a qualified, experienced attorney who can help you navigate medical, insurance and employment-related issues.