Traffic accidents—along with fatalities and injuries—are increasing in Plano, and most of them are happening along a stretch of US 75 that runs through the city, officials said.

US 75 consistently has the most crashes even though there is a higher volume of traffic on the west side of town, Police Chief Ed Drain said in a recent report to City Council.

Some of the accidents along US 75 are related to people coming on and off the ramps, Drain said.

Stats reported by the police department included:
  • In 2022, there were 4,451 traffic crashes, an increase of 11.7% compared to 2021.
  • Fatality crashes went up 57.1%
  • The number of people injured in crashes increased by 19.7%.
During the pandemic in 2020 the city actually saw some of the lowest traffic volume.

"But we had some of the highest fatality rates," Drain said. "I think we were up to about 17 fatalities that year. [That was] very high, one of the highest in the last 10 years, and people still haven’t slowed down since then."

Officials with both the police and fire departments showed city leaders hotspot maps that indicate US 75 as a problem area.

“A lot of those are going to be vehicle accidents, and a lot of the other hotspots are going to be your long-term care facilities,” Fire Chief Chris Biggerstaff said.

Emergency calls also increasing

Winter storms in February 2021 and December 2022 caused an increase in emergency calls for Plano Fire-Rescue. During those years, the department had the highest call volume it has seen in 10 years.

The number of emergency calls over the past three years include:
  • 32,976 calls in 2022
  • 33,449 calls in 2021
  • 25,622 calls in 2020
What are the reasons?

The increase in calls was not necessarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.

“During 2020, the first part of COVID[-19], our numbers went way down, actually,” Biggersgtaff said. “Nobody wanted to go to a hospital. Everybody was concerned about going. They weren’t sure about how that was going to work out.”

The number of emergency calls coming in began going up in 2021.

At the beginning of 2021, the rate for COVID-19 cases was considered high, and it seemed that might be the cause, Biggerstaff said.

“We thought that might be part of it, but the numbers never went back down,” Biggerstaff said. “Even as COVID[-19] went down the numbers didn’t come back down.”

Winter storms played a role

The fire department responded to 2,900 calls in a matter of about five days in 2021.

Typically there are about 100 calls, but for a couple of days the department responded to nearly 1,000 calls.

“That skewed our numbers” Biggerstaff said. “We also had a winter storm in 2022 at the end where the department made 700 calls in a short time. If you take those two out, the department had about a 6% increase.”

Plano's aging population

Plano Fire-Rescue transported 7.6% more patients in 2022 than in 2021. Additionally, patients age 65 and older accounted for half of all patients transported.

As demand increases, the department will likely request more ambulances, Biggerstaff said.

The entire presentation is available online.