07/07/08 — Statistics: Accidents low since crossover

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Statistics: Accidents low since crossover

By Steve Herring
Published in News on July 7, 2008 1:46 PM

The most recent accident statistics for the area near the Beston Road-U.S. 70 intersection "speak for themselves" when it comes to the effectiveness of safety improvements made there last year, County Manager Lee Smith said.

Smith said that according to North Carolina Highway Patrol reports, accidents in the area of the intersection have decreased by almost half since the North Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT) installed a leftover directional crossover.

The improvements and statistics were bones of contention during a May 22 public work session of the U.S. 70 Corridor Commission.

Several local residents complained during the meeting about the leftover directional crossover. They argued that a stoplight would be safer and better suited for the intersection.

However, commission members said the crossover was safe and that an already stoplight-clogged U.S. 70 did not need any additional red lights.

Also during the session, conflicting accident statistics were presented.

Smith said the new figures, which are available for viewing at his office, were not prompted by the May 22 meeting. Also available are the accident statistics for the past four years.

Smith said county commissioners made a commitment to monitor, along with the DOT, accidents along the 1.7-mile stretch of highway between Walnut Creek Road and Piney Grove on U.S. 70.

New statistics are provided every quarter.

Before the crossover was installed in March 2007, there were about 20 accidents yearly on the 1.7-mile stretch of road.

A review of accidents reports over the past 15 months for that section of highway shows that five of the 11 accidents were single-vehicle accidents. Three were due to deer jumping out onto the highway and two were single-car accidents in which the driver lost control of the vehicle and ran off the road.

Another three accidents were attributed to a vehicle switching lanes and hitting a car in another lane; a vehicle crossed an eastbound lane to enter a public driveway, hitting a car and a vehicle swerved to avoid hitting a car and crossed into the median.

Of the three remaining accidents, two occurred while vehicles were attempting to enter the turn lane from the Beston Road intersection and one occurred when a car was turning right from the Handy Mart parking lot and hit a car traveling on the highway.

According to Smith, there were no serious, severe or life-threatening injuries in those accidents, and there have been no fatalities.

Statistics from the previous years, provided by Smith's office, show the following for the stretch of road from Walnut Creek to Piney Grove:

-- March 2004 to March 2005: 27 accidents. Two of the accidents resulted in fatalities and two caused serious injuries.

-- March 2005 to March 2006: 16 accidents. There were no fatalities during this time period, but there were two accidents causing serious injuries.

-- March 2006 to March 2007: 19 accidents. There were no serious injuries or fatalities.