Stay-at-home orders cause ‘drastic decrease’ in traffic crashes in northeast Johnson County

Merriam tweeted a traffic alert on Tuesday regarding Ikea Way being closed to through traffic on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. File photo.

Traffic crashes are notably down in cities across the United States as stay-at-home orders reduce travel, and the major cities of northeast Johnson County are no exception.

The Shawnee Mission Post compared traffic statistics from the last two weeks to March 13-31, 2019 data for Overland Park, Lenexa, Prairie Village, Leawood, and Shawnee.

Based on the data we have received, crashes are down by 75% in Lenexa, Prairie Village, and Shawnee compared to this time last year.

Leawood had a 54% reduction while Overland Park saw a 43% dip.

Master Police Officer Danny Chavez from Lenexa Police Department said “there is no doubt that the drastic decrease in our crashes is the result of the current COVID-19 situation.”

“Many people are either working from home, or not working at all,” Chavez said, while citing school closures as another major factor at play. “Those two things, combined with the ‘stay-at-home’ order, mean that people just aren’t driving as much as they normally would.

“When there are less cars on the road, it’s likely going to result in fewer crashes. We believe that’s what we’re seeing right now. What is ordinarily ‘rush hour’ traffic, looks more like middle-of-the-night traffic.”

Officer John Lacy with the Overland Park Police Department shared similar sentiments, adding that police officers have also seen an overall drop in crimes and arrests in the past month.

“Residential and commercial burglaries are also down since the stay-at-home order,” Lacy said. “Most of our citizens are doing a great job quarantining, and we thank them.”

Here’s a breakdown of the traffic crash data by city:

Lenexa

March 13-31, 2019: 52

March 13-31, 2020: 13

Percent reduction: 75%

Prairie Village

March 13-31, 2019: 20

March 13-31, 2020: 5

Percent reduction: 75%

Shawnee

March 13-31, 2019: 52

March 13-31, 2020: 13

Percent reduction: 75%

Leawood

March 13-31, 2019: 28

March 13-31, 2020: 13

Percent reduction: 54%

Overland Park

March 15-31, 2019*: 167

March 15-31, 2020*: 96

Percent reduction: 43%

*Overland Park Police Department statistics have a two-day difference from other cities, based on readily available data.