Police: 'one of our deadlier years' on Bakersfield roads

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - This summer, the streets of Bakersfield have been painted with yellow tape, covered in scraps of metal and coated in blood.

In just the past three days, the Bakersfield Police Department has had to respond to four fatal collisions.

Sgt. Joe Grubbs is the spokesman for the department, and he doesn't want to have to announce any more deaths.

New statistics show 2014 to be one of the most dangerous years on the road with 22 fatal crashes so far.

From May to August, the total number of crashes is higher than the period from 2011 to 2013 - with 1,250 accidents.

There have also been more fatalities than there were at this time in years prior - up from 18 deaths in 2012 to 22 deaths in 2014.

"Overall, it looks like these numbers are going to be a little higher than they have been," said Grubbs. "This is going to be one of our deadlier years here on the roadways in Bakersfield."

One reason for that could be an increase in people driving under the influence, with eight incidents so far this year, with three months to go.

Those circumstances may have led to a pedestrian getting pinned against a wall over the weekend, as well as a crash on Highway 99 and Ming Avenue.

"We're running as many, if not more, DUI checkpoints, and that is an effort to educate the public," said Grubbs.

He said other crashes, like Tuesday's on Panama and Ashe, stem from people just not following the rules.

"A simple red light violation killed somebody," he said. "It's happening routinely, daily, all day long."

Grubbs said eight intersections in town have cameras to stop those red light violations, but that isn't enough to stop some drivers. As a result, the department could be writing more tickets in an effort to save more lives.

"Stepping up enforcement, obviously writing more traffic citations," he said. "Red light cameras have been proven to help."

One of the reasons for the higher numbers could be a result of population gains.

People need to slow down a bit and relax.

"Care about your neighbor. Give a darn about the person that's on the road way with you," said Grubbs.

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