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Live 5 Investigates: Dangerous intersections - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Live 5 Investigates: Dangerous intersections

Dangerous Intersections in Charleston Dangerous Intersections in Charleston
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

Dangerous intersections across the Lowcountry are seeing more than their fair share of traffic accidents.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, Live 5 News requested more than 18 months of preliminary collision data from the S.C. Department of Public Safety to pinpoint the locations where drivers are most vulnerable.

According to the department's data set, 279 crashes occurred at or near I-26 at Ashley Phosphate, making the area the number one intersection for collisions for 2015-2016. 

"I'm surprised it's just that little," Thomas Grant, driver, said. "Because you go from two lanes to four lanes, and when you take that turn on the left two lanes, that turn is so sharp, the slightest mistake you're going to hit that person to your left."

According to the latest census data, Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties are among the fastest growing in S.C. Deputy Chief Coyle Kinard with North Charleston Police's department of Special Operations said he's indeed seen an uptick in traffic moving through Ashley Phosphate. 

"The increase in volume of vehicles is unbelievable up in that area," Kinard said. "A lot of people coming through the city heading to Goose Creek, also heading to the Northwoods area that live up there and work in the Tricounty area."

According to Kinard, the volume of cars can be problematic but collisions can also be attributed to "aggressive driving," drivers rushing from "point A to point B." He said patrol officers often see drivers ignore area traffic lights and signals. 

"What we've been finding recently," Kinard said, "Even though you've got two turn lanes turning onto Ashley Phosphate to head towards Dorchester, people are also using the third lane as a left turn lane." Kinard said it's one issue on the department's radar for increased enforcement. 

In fact, Kinard said officers are frequently positioned near such intersections during rush hour to help clear accidents more quickly or monitor traffic. 

While most accidents at Ashley Phosphate and I-26 occurred during rush hour between 6-9 AM and 3-6 PM, according to public safety data, weather conditions were rarely a factor. According to 2015-2016 data, most accidents of the 279 that occurred at I-26 and Ashley Phosphate happened during clear (234) or dry (246) conditions. 

"It's just kinda scary," Jacqueline Gaytan, who lives in North Charleston, said. "It doesn't even matter what time it is, it's just always always busy."

Meanwhile, more than 170 accidents were investigated at I-26 at College Park Road, according to officials. Public safety officials accounted for 117 incidents at the Carnes Crossroads intersection of 17-A and Hwy 176. The latter is no surprise to Major John Grainger with Goose Creek Police. 

"Our traffic officers primarily patrol our major highways," Grainger said. "[Officers] periodically conduct selective enforcement operations at a particular location based on collision activity and/or reported violations. This intersection is routinely in our monthly top 5 locations for selective enforcement."

117 accidents happened at 526 and I-26, where the two interstates merge. Yet, Sgt. Bob Beres with S.C. Highway Patrol said the common denominator for crashes across the Tricounty is driver behavior.

"You could have a million cars on this interstate without a collision," Beres said. "It's the drivers' behavior that causes them."

 

CHARLESTON DORCHESTER AND BERKELEY COUNTIES COMBINED

County

Route 1

Route 2

Fatal Collision

Injury Collision

PDO* Collision

Total Collision

Persons Killed

Persons Injured

Charleston

Interstate-0026

Secondary-0075

1

46

232

279

1

60

Berkeley

Interstate-0026

Secondary-0062

0

28

145

173

0

39

Berkeley

US Primary-0017

US Primary-0176

1

37

87

125

1

65

Charleston

Interstate-0026

Interstate-0526

0

24

93

117

0

27

Berkeley

US Primary-0017

Secondary-1259

0

14

98

112

0

23

Charleston

INTERNATIONAL BLVD

Interstate-0526

0

31

79

110

0

53

Charleston

Interstate-0026

US Primary-0078

1

23

83

107

1

29

Charleston

Secondary-0075

Secondary-2274

0

22

85

107

0

42

Charleston

US Primary-0052

Interstate-0526

1

27

77

105

1

42

Dorchester

Secondary-0230

SC Primary-0642

1

22

82

105

1

26

*Data provided the SC Department of Public Safety. Numbers reflect preliminary collision data from Jan. 1, 2015. to Nov. 4, 2016. 

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