Since January, after PennDot improved the road surface, posted more warning signs, and gave police $20,500 for increased patrols, one fatal accident has been reported on Route 100 between Routes 23 and 401.

This is an improvement, though a modest one, on a stretch of often winding and perilous road where six fatal accidents were reported from 2003 through 2006.

Significant nonfatal accidents also have dropped since the beginning of the year, compared with recent years, officials of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said in interviews.

For the four full years from 2003 through 2006, there was an average of 45 reportable crashes a year - ones involving death, injury or towing - according to Lou Belmonte, PennDot district traffic engineer for Southeastern Pennsylvania.

From Jan. 1 through Oct. 31, there were 28 such crashes, he said.

Belmonte did not have comparable numbers for the first 10 months of each of the last four years.

But the 28 so far this year means 2.8 per month. The 45 full-year average was 3.75 per month.

"Over the four years," Belmonte said - talking in whole numbers, not averages - there were "six fatals, 10 major injuries, 26 moderate injuries, and 66 minor injuries."

So far this year, he said, there was "one fatal, one major injury, one moderate injury, 12 minor injuries."

Belmonte advised that accurate figures are often not available until well into the new year.

"It depends on if [every] police report were put into the system," he said. "There might be some stragglers out there."

In West Vincent Township, Police Chief Michael Swininger, when asked whether Route 100 was safer, responded: "I would say absolutely."

"We've noticed a substantial decrease in accidents," Swininger said. "We've also noticed the amount of citations being issued . . . have decreased substantially."

The increased police patrols were accompanied by doubled fines for traffic violations in the patrolled corridor, Belmonte said.

But in North Coventry Township, Police Chief Robert Schurr said: "We don't keep track of the doubled fines."

There is no way of knowing the total amount collected, Schurr said, unless "I went through every single citation." He said district justices also cannot readily discover how much has been collected.

Even with doubled fines, Schurr said, "we don't make money off traffic tickets. Most municipalities don't make money off traffic tickets."

A municipality gets only half of the amount collected from a traffic citation, Schurr noted. And if the driver asks for a hearing, "many times that's on overtime" for the officer who wrote the ticket.

In previous years, PennDot had milled rumble strips onto both edges - the driver's side and the passenger's side - of both northbound and southbound lanes.

This year, Belmonte said, PennDot resurfaced the stretch of Route 100 - between Route 23 in South Coventry Township and Blackhorse Road in West Vincent Township - with what he called "a high-friction pavement."

The side rumble strips had been cut before this year, but Belmonte said that after parts of Route 100 were resurfaced, the strips were restored.

And though three sets of two rumble strips each had been laid across the lanes in the autumn of 2006, Belmonte said that after the resurfacing, "we did a more permanent application."

One former sports-car racing driver said that the road might be safer.

"I drive it at least twice a day," said lawyer Ben LaGarde of Glenmoore, because "my office is in the Lehigh Valley, [and] my home is just below 401."

With proper legalistic caution, LaGarde said, "I assume it is safer . . .

"You can't make that road any safer than they have, without completely redesigning it."

Contact staff writer Walter F. Naedele at 610-701-7614 or wnaedele@phillynews.com.