In just one year, the intersection of Collier Parkway and State Road 54 has become the No. 1 spot in the county for car crashes caused by aggressive driving, according to statistics from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.
The first-quarter statistics — from Jan. 1 to April 30 — were released Friday. For that same period in 2008, the intersection of Collier and SR 54 was fourth on the list.
"Collier Parkway has skyrocketed," said Deputy Creg Bell. "Drivers are speeding, tailgating, going off the roadway, cutting people off.
The top spots on the aggressive-driving list are usually held by places in western Pasco. But, Bell said, as far as the Collier intersection, "the widening of 54 is a huge factor."
Bell is heading Operation Collier Crunch on Monday. The area will be saturated with authorities from the Sheriff's Office, the Florida Highway Patrol and the Zephyrhills and New Port Richey police departments, as well as motorcycle units from those agencies.
"We want to slow people down," Bell said.
The other top intersections for aggressive driving crashes in Pasco this year are:
2. Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and SR 54 (new to this year's list);
3. Rowan Road and SR 54 (ranked second in 2008);
4. Regency Park Boulevard and Ridge Road (ranked eighth in 2008);
5. U.S. 41 and SR 52 (new);
6. Cobblestone Drive and SR 52 (new);
7. U.S. 19 and SR 52 (same ranking as 2008);
8. Little Road and Ridge Road (ranked sixth in 2008);
9. Hicks Road and SR 52 (new);
10. Louis Avenue and Holiday Lake Drive (new);
11. Little Road and New York Avenue (new); and
12. Mile Stretch Drive and U.S. 19 (new).
At this time last year, the intersection of U.S. 19 and Flora Avenue topped the list. It's not on there this year. Others that were on the 2008 list that weren't on this year's are U.S. 41 at SR 54; U.S. 19 at Beacon Woods Drive; U.S. 19 at Embassy Boulevard; and Little Road at SR 54.
Last year, there were eight fatal accidents, causing eight deaths, in the first quarter of the year. This year, there have been eight fatal accidents that have caused 10 deaths.
The total number of accidents caused by aggressive driving has decreased to 685 in so far this year from 817 in 2008.
The worst day to be on the roads is still Friday, as it was last year. The number of accidents jumps on that day. The day with the lowest accidents is Sunday.
The time of day with the most accidents is 2 to 3 p.m., followed by 5 to 6 p.m. The time with the fewest accidents is 3 to 4 a.m.
Bell said that if you see an aggressive driver on the road — someone weaving in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed, tailgating, etc. — let the car pass you. He said to not try to block the driver, as the person would see it as a challenge.
"Try to get the best description you can of the vehicle," Bell said. He said to call authorities, even if you don't get a tag number. A basic description of the vehicle and where the car is headed are good enough.
Erin Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 727-869-6229.