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Saturday, November 4th, 2017

Heavier traffic = more accidents

Cities see higher rate of crashes

By Tom Stankard

A map locating intersections in the Grand Lake area where the most accidents hav. . .

Heavier traffic increases the likelihood of accidents, local law enforcement officers say.
An Ohio State Highway Patrol analysis of traffic data indicates most Grand Lake-area crashes are concentrated in Celina and St. Marys' congested commercial areas. Officers encourage drivers to take particular care in those areas.
Celina Police Chief Tom Wale said it's no coincidence most accidents occur where more people live.
"Traffic is just like crime. The more people you have, the more traffic you have. The more traffic you have, the more accidents you have," he said.
In Celina, Wale said accidents most often occur at intersections along Main and Market streets.
Most traffic in Celina travels on those streets because they carry vehicles on U.S. 127 and State Route 29, he noted.
Drivers have been involved in 71 accidents at the intersection of Main and Market streets over the past five years, making it the No. 1 crash site in the Grand Lake area, according to the patrol data.
Motorists have been involved in 39 accidents at the intersection of Main Street with Summit Street/Myers Road. This makes the intersection the second-most common location for accidents in Mercer County.
Accidents typically occur there because motorists are approaching the intersection at a high rate of speed coming off U.S. 127 and aren't able to slow down in time at the stoplight, Wale said.
Also on Main Street, 27 accidents have occurred at the intersection with Logan Street, which carries State Route 29.
Elsewhere in Celina, 38 accidents have occurred at the intersection of State Route 29 and Havemann Road, 33 at State Route 29 and Grand Lake Road and 32 accidents have been at the intersection of Market and Ash streets where State Route 29 turns. Twenty-four accidents have occurred at the Havemann Road-Grand Lake Road intersection.
St. Marys Police Chief Jacob Sutton said accidents most often occur at the intersection of Main and South streets. Over the past five years, 29 accidents have occurred at that location.
Motorists have also been involved in 25 accidents at the intersection of Main and Spring streets.
Elsewhere in St. Marys accidents often occur at the intersection of High and Spruce streets. Over the past five years, 24 accidents have occurred there.
Coldwater Police Chief Jason Miller said the village's most common site of accidents is at Main and Second streets, where 28 accidents have occurred over the past five years.
"This is the busiest intersection in the village," he said. "Looking at the contributing factors at that intersection, there is no one factor that stands out among the others. It just appears to be that it's a busy intersection combined with the fact the intersection is relatively narrow."
Each chief said he is happy that no fatalities have occurred in the downtown areas due to the lower speed limits in the area.
When driving along busy streets, motorists need to be more vigilant, Sutton and Wale said.
"Going through intersections, people need to be defensive drivers," Sutton said.
At intersections, accidents are usually caused by "traffic-light violations and failing to assure a safe distance from the vehicle ahead," Wale noted.
Such mistakes often occur because motorists are more easily distracted in downtown areas, Wale said.
"There's a lot of activity in downtown," he said. "You look over because something catches your attention away from the road and can cause an accident."
State Route 29 has been the site of many accidents over the past five years in Celina and St. Marys. In St. Marys, 27 accidents have occurred at the intersection with Kishler Street.
Along U.S. 127, 29 accidents have been at the intersection with U.S. 33 in Mercer County. One of those accidents took the life of person in the vehicle, according to information provided.
Ohio Department of Transportation officials have been looking into upgrading the intersection's traffic signal by adding a radar-detection system. The signal would allow the light to stay green for any vehicle within 450 feet of the intersection. This measure should reduce the number of collisions and improve traffic flow, officials hope.   
In Auglaize County along U.S. 33, 21 accidents have occurred at the intersection with Townline-Kossuth Road over the past five years.
On the four-lane highway there, motorists tend to check for oncoming traffic when crossing the first set of lanes, but forget to check to do so when crossing the next set of lanes coming from the opposite direction, Sheriff Al Solomon said.
Over the years, Solomon said he has noticed an increasing amount of traffic. He noted this could be due to a rising number of students going to Wright State University-Lake Campus or Rhodes State College using the highway on their commute to school.
Friday is the most common day for accidents, according to information Wale provided. He said this could possibly be because people like to go out after work and are focused on the weekend ahead. Throughout the day, accidents usually occur when motorists are on their way to and from school and work, Wale added.
Vehicles are being equipped with technology to limit accidents, Wale pointed out. Last year, he said backup cameras were mandated in the United States. Even if they have such a camera, motorists should still look around before backing.
"It still gives you a warning to look around," he said. "You need to use it as a tool, not a replacement to what you're already doing."
As another safety measure, auto companies have been equipping vehicles with technology that can automatically apply the brakes.
"I think that's cool and is going to be real helpful," he said.

Most accidents:

Rank Town Roads Fatal Injury Damage Total
1 Celina Main St. Market St. 13 58 71
2 Celina Main St. Summit St. 13 26 39
3 Celina State Route 29 Havemann Rd. 15 23 38
4 Celina State Route 29 Grand Lake Rd. 1 11 21 33
5 Celina Market St. Ash St. 8 24 32
6 Mercer US 33 US 127 1 11 17 29
6 St. Marys South St. Main St. 3 26 29
8 Coldwater Main St. 2nd St. 8 20 28
9 Celina Main St. Logan St 4 23 27
9 St. Marys State Route 29 Kishler St. 5 22 27
11 St. Marys Main St. Spring St. 6 19 25
12 Celina Havemann Rd. Grand Lake Rd. 5 19 24
12 St. Marys High St. Spruce St. 5 19 24
14 Celina Livingston St. Grand Lake Rd. 5 18 23
15 Auglaize US 33 Townline Kossuth Rd. 1 7 13 21
16 New Bremen Monroe St. Washington St. 4 16 20
17 St. Marys State Route 66 Fortman Dr. 2 18 20
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