Crash! Bam! Whack! Anyone who has ever been involved in a car accident knows the crunching sound of metal hitting metal.

More than a few Fairfield University students know this sound as well. There are about 80 car accidents a year on campus, according to security reports.

In the first few months of 2004, there were 23 reported accidents on campus, according to Frank Ficko, associate director of security. In the past three years, January 2001 to December 2003, there were 241 accidents including 75 hit-and-runs.

“The majority of the accidents we see are those that occur in parking lots,” said Ficko. “People are often in a rush or inattentive and will back out of the stall into oncoming traffic.”

While Ficko said by far the majority of accidents are due simply to negligence, he also cited roadway conditions, illegally parked cars, substance abuse and faulty mechanics.

Nate Rosencranz ’05 knows all too well the sound of crunching metal.

His silver Subaru Impreza was parked outside the One Block of the townhouses when it was sideswiped by a Dattco bus on Jan 29.

“My car is going to cost more than $7,100 to fix,” said Rosencranz. “Dattco’s insurance covered the entire amount, but it’s been over a month and a half and I just got my car back.”

Fairfield University security is trying to tighten regulations and crack down on vehicular violators. Towing is now strictly enforced for any illegally parked cars and chronic violators.

Tickets for speeding and other violations, such as not yielding to pedestrians or not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign, will be more severe and rigorous. According to Ficko this is because 10 accidents have involved pedestrians in the past three years.

“Failure to yield right of way, failure to yield to pedestrians and improper backing will be considered serious offenses,” he said. “The driver will be at fault.”

Erratic student driving and the large number of accidents have some students concerned.

“People drive so fast around here and they don’t stop at stop signs,” said Erin Teeling ’05. “My car has scratches all over the back bumper from other cars.”

“I saw a car almost hit a girl and keep going,” said Michael Duni ’05. “The girl had to dive to one side, and the car just kept going.”

He added, “I cannot really say anything though because I have seven speeding tickets this year, but I never hit anyone.”

Other students do not seem too fazed by the reports. “That sort of thing happens all the time.” said Greg Turner ’05 “Everyone does it but I do think people drive too fast around campus.”

If students get into a motor vehicle accident on campus, security officers advise you to immediately notify them so a report can be filed, even if you are not at fault. The report must be completed and then sent to your insurance agency before any claims can be submitted for reimbursement.

“My advice to students has always been the same,” said Ficko. “Be alert, slow down and take your time.”

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