Monday, August 20, 2018
Transportation

Here's a look at Tampa Bay's most crash-prone intersections

You're more likely to get into a car crash during the day. But you're more likely to be killed in a car crash at night. • Drivers making left turns at intersections cause far more accidents than motorists who rear-end other vehicles or drift out of their lane. • And more local drivers are getting distracted by things outside their vehicles than by their own cellphones. • New studies of auto accident trends in the Tampa Bay area unearthed these nuggets of information, and a lot more:

Vulnerable in crashes

Pinellas County officials recently analyzed nearly 18,000 traffic accidents from 2012. Most of the county's 106 traffic deaths that year — 58 percent of them — were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists.

Pinellas intersections with the most pedestrian deaths were along wider, heavily developed, six-lane surface roads such as Ulmerton, Starkey and Belcher roads, East Bay Drive, Seminole Boulevard and 66th Street N.

Hillsborough County officials analyzed accidents from 2006 to 2010, including nearly 11,000 severe crashes that caused deaths or incapacitating injuries. Pedestrians and bicyclists accounted for 31 percent of Hillsborough's traffic deaths.

Intersections

Not surprisingly, Pinellas County found that the intersections with the most accidents were on its most heavily traveled roads — namely U.S. 19 and Interstate 275. The county's top dozen intersections with the most crashes were along those roads, except for the intersection of Seminole and Park boulevards.

"U.S. 19 has our highest number of crashes overall," said Chelsea Favero, a staffer with Pinellas' transportation planning agency. "It has some of our highest traffic volumes, and a lot of activity at those intersections."

In Hillsborough, multiple intersections on heavily traveled, heavily developed Dale Mabry Highway were among the most crash-prone locations. Other dangerous roads were Fowler, Fletcher, Waters and Hillsborough avenues; and Bruce B. Downs and Brandon boulevards.

Hillsborough officials are studying several of the most dangerous intersections to see if anything can be done to make them safer.

Speeding

Despite recent news headlines about hot-button issues like red-light cameras and wrong-way drivers on the interstate, the simple fact is that the vast majority of car wrecks are still caused by motorists who are going too fast and not paying attention.

"Distractions, speed, improper turns and violation of signals or right of way are what I see the most of," said Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Steve Gaskins.

Nighttime crashes

While 22 percent of all Pinellas County crashes happened at night, 56 percent of fatal crashes happened at night. "Our crashes at night tend to be more severe," Favero said.

In Hillsborough, less than 30 percent of all severe crashes happened at night, but 60 percent of all fatal crashes happened at night.

Left turns

Most of Hillsborough's accidents occurred along major urban roadways. And nearly 35 percent of those crashes involved drivers making left turns. The next-highest categories were rear-end crashes and lane-departure crashes, which accounted for 26 and 18 percent of accidents, respectively.

"People are being too impatient, trying to make that left turn," said Gena Torres, a senior transportation planner with Hills­borough County.

One common danger comes with four-lane roads with no medians.

"You want to make a left turn, but there's somebody across the intersection who also wants to make a left," Torres said. "It's really hard to see if another car is coming. You end up inching forward to peek around each other."

Other findings

• Less than 7 percent of all Pinellas crashes involved intoxication, but 46 percent of its fatal crashes involved intoxication.

• Nearly 30 percent of Pinellas crashes involved people between 15 and 34 years of age, while only 11 percent of crashes involved people 65 or older.

• 77 percent of Hillsborough's severe crashes occurred on roads with speed limits of 45 mph or higher.

Oh, and one more thing: We're in the thick of accident season right now, with the highest numbers of local crashes occurring in October, November and December.

Drive safely.

Contact Mike Brassfield at [email protected] or (727) 445-4151. Follow @MikeBrassfield.

   
Comments
Have you made up your mind on a transportation sales tax? Many candidates havenít

Have you made up your mind on a transportation sales tax? Many candidates havenít

TAMPA ó Some 77,000 people signed a petition to place a sales-tax hike for transportation on the Nov. 6 ballot, but many of the 17 people seeking seats on the Hillsborough County Commission say theyíre still making up their minds.Some candidates aren...
Published: 08/17/18
Transportation activists hope to pave over past referendum defeats

Transportation activists hope to pave over past referendum defeats

TAMPA ó The group behind a sales tax transportation initiative used hundreds of volunteers and spent at least $550,000 on a petition-gathering firm in a frantic six-week dash to qualify for the Nov. 6 General Election ballot.That may have been the ea...
Published: 08/11/18
Troubled SunPass vendor could have to pay $1.7 million, but Florida isnít asking for it

Troubled SunPass vendor could have to pay $1.7 million, but Florida isnít asking for it

The vendor responsible for recent problems with the SunPass tolling system could be on the hook to pay the state at least $1.7 million based on a review of documents obtained by the Tampa Bay Times.But the Florida Department of Transportation hasnít ...
Published: 08/08/18
Updated: 08/09/18
Petition succeeds, Hillsborough voters set to decide on sales tax hike for transportation

Petition succeeds, Hillsborough voters set to decide on sales tax hike for transportation

TAMPA ó As if there wasnít enough riding on the mid-term elections, a plan to raise the sales tax to pay for transportation projects is now set to go before Hillsborough voters.The Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections confirmed Wednesday that ...
Published: 08/08/18

Flooding closes WPA Road in Brooksville; Rackley, other roads still closed

BROOKSVILLE ó Flooding on Wednesday led the Hernando County Department of Public Works to close WPA Road just south of its intersection with Mondon Hill Road.More than a foot of water is covering part of the road, east of downtown Brooksville, accord...
Published: 08/08/18
Ferry project waves goodbye to $4.7 million federal grant

Ferry project waves goodbye to $4.7 million federal grant

TAMPA — If the long-awaited commuter ferry service between south Hillsborough County and MacDill Air Force Base ever happens, it will likely be without federal money. Leaders of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit authority acknowledged Mon...
Published: 08/06/18
Updated: 08/07/18
High-speed rail firm scouting land for station and development around proposed Rays ballpark site

High-speed rail firm scouting land for station and development around proposed Rays ballpark site

TAMPA ó Brightline, the firm behind the passenger rail system between Miami and West Palm Beach, doesnít yet know if it will win a state bid to build a high-speed rail link between Tampa and Orlando.But the company is already scouting sites for a ter...
Updated one month ago
Southbound I-275 ramp to northbound 75 in Manatee County to close for 10 months

Southbound I-275 ramp to northbound 75 in Manatee County to close for 10 months

People who travel from Pinellas County to southern Hillsborough using the interstates may want to build in some extra time.The Florida Department of Transportation has shut down the ramp that shuttles motorists from southbound Interstate 275 in Manat...
Updated one month ago
Waterborne transportation a fact of life in other cities; why not Tampa Bay?

Waterborne transportation a fact of life in other cities; why not Tampa Bay?

Mark Hubbard, the owner of Hubbard’s Marina on John’s Pass, has watched two decades of uncertainty over the future of waterborne transportation play out in Tampa Bay. Just when it seems that Tampa and St. Petersburg have figured out how ...
Updated one month ago
One Florida agency rejected the troubled SunPass vendor three years ago. Hereís why.

One Florida agency rejected the troubled SunPass vendor three years ago. Hereís why.

When Florida wanted to consolidate its tolling systems into what drivers now know as SunPass, regional expressway agencies in Tampa, Orlando, and Miami were ready to work together. But when Xerox spinoff Conduent State & Local Solutions was chosen as...
Updated one month ago