Police blotter

Announcing @chpfatal: In response to the recent fascination with bike accident map projects, I’ve created @chpfatal on Twitter. It’s a real time feed of fatal car crashes in California as reported by the California Highway Patrol.

We had about 3,000 traffic fatalities in California in 2009, which is about eight lost lives everyday. The Twitter feed, which only grabs fatalities which occur on the highway and are reported to the CHP, has been running roughly two fatalities per day, while the official state statistics of 3000+ deaths tabulates all fatalities whether the responding police is the CHP or a local agency. The official state stats also record deaths that occur after the crash at, for example, the trauma center, while @chpfatal tweets mostly record the fatalities that occur on the highway itself or (sometimes) enroute to emergency treatment.

I plan to soon update my software so it creates a CSV database on the fly that can then be used by Google Fusion Tables so you can map, infograph and otherwise visualize the highway fatality data to your heart’s content.


  1. Useful, but terribly depressing. We had – until recently – a Twitter account called @struckinDC that reported every DC EMS call for a struck pedestrian or cyclist. The frequency of updates was both alarming and sad. Occasionally I find ignorance preferable.

  2. It’s *very* depressing, and I’m glad to see very few people are actually following the feed (and the related @chpbike feed). I hope the map that I’ll eventually create from the data will be more useful, though.

  3. Ah, I just looked up traffic fatality statistics in Japan. Happily,the number of the fatalities has been decreasing. I don’t know why but I think the crackdown on drunk driving might have helped. The results are shown here: URL:http://www.oshima.pref.hokkaido.lg.jp/hk/kks/kakarigyoumu/suishintop/joukyou/todohukenbetu.htm. By the way, Tokyo became the worst city (for traffic fatalities) in 2010. Anyway, I hope the number of traffic fatalities in California will decrease by your tool or somehow.

  4. Shuichi-san,

    Thank you for that info. Japan has an admirably low rate of traffic deaths
    compared to the United States. We have about 10x the number of traffic
    deaths with about 2.5x times the population. And it appears several
    prefectures have been able to cut traffic deaths by over 50% over the past
    decade! Compare to California’s 20% cut in deaths over the same time

    Most countries look at traffic accidents in epidemiological terms, showing
    fatality rates per 100,000 population (or a similar measure). In the United
    States, the most common measure of traffic fatalities is per “Vehicles Miles
    Traveled” (VMT) — states publish there are so many deaths per million
    vehicle miles traveled. Since, until recently, VMT kept climbing up and up,
    the government can claim increased safety in spite of increasing deaths.

  5. Hello, I have not compared the number of traffic fatalities ever before. I feel there are more unfortunate numbers in the US than in Japan in your message. I hope traffic fatalities will decrease from now on in the US. Anyway, thank you for telling me the info.

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