Stats show area's most dangerous roadways
Last updated 11/13/2008 at Noon
While Fallbrook’s winding roads lend themselves to a picturesque rural setting, their long stretches over hills and around sharp bends can and do cause hurried or inattentive drivers to lose control of their vehicle, causing property damage, injury or, in the worst of cases, death.
According to California Highway Patrol (CHP) statistics, there were 502 automobile collisions in 2007, with 175 of those resulting in injury, and seven in fatalities.
Among the list of roads with the highest percentages of collisions in 2007 are well-known main arteries as well as quiet streets with sharp corners and turns that lead to fender benders.
The Fallbrook road with the highest incident of collisions is State Route 76. In 2007, there were 117 collisions on the highway, accounting for 23% of all Fallbrook collisions that year. The high collision intersections on SR76 include those at North River Road (14 collisions), East Vista Way (11 collisions) Old Highway 395 (10 collisions), Mission Road (6 collisions) and South Mission Road (5 collisions). Thirty four percent of the collisions on SR76 resulted in injury; 3% were fatal.
CHP Public Information Officer Eric Newbury isn’t surprised by the amount of collisions on SR76, given the high volume of commuter traffic on the highway every day.
“North County residents use [SR] 76 as a main artery to get to work, even though it’s only two lanes,” he said. “As the population increases, so does the traffic on the road.”
The road with the second-highest number of traffic collisions in 2007 was South Mission Road, which had 77 car collisions, accounting for 15% of all collisions in Fallbrook. High collision intersections on South Mission were on Stage Coach Lane (9 collisions), Green Canyon (8 collisions), La Canada Road (7 collisions), Almond Street (5 collisions), Fallbrook Street (5 collisions), Heller’s Bend (5 collisions), Pepper Tree Lane (4 collisions), Ammunition Road (4 collisions), Aviation Road (4 collisions) and Clemmens Lane (4 collisions). Forty-six percent of the collisions on South Mission resulted in injury.
East Mission Road had significantly less collisions reported than South Mission or SR76, but with 43 collisions in 2007, the roadway still figures significantly, accounting for 8% of Fallbrook’s collisions. The intersections with the most collisions on East Mission are on Stage Coach Lane (7 collisions), Main (5 collisions) and Old Highway 395 (four collisions). Out of those incidents, 34% resulted in injury.
“East Mission and South Mission are the two main arteries to get into town, so they always have a high volume of traffic,” explained Newbury. “Drivers start building speed on the curves; so they have the time they need to react if something happens.”
Other high traffic roads that have high collision percentages include Olive Hill and Ammunition Roads, which, while not being the dominating arteries leading in and out of town, still have high amounts of automobile traffic.
Leading to 21 car collisions in 2007, Olive Hill’s significant number of winding turns and curves are reason enough for drivers to slow down and pay attention to the road. This is especially true around the SR76 intersection, which had seven collisions in 2007, and South Mission Road’s intersection at Olive Hill which saw four collisions in 2007. Thirty three percent of these collisions resulted in injury.
Ammunition Road had 17 car collisions in 2007, with the high collision intersections being Alturas Road (7 collisions), South Mission Road (6 collisions) and Mission Road (4 collisions). Twenty-nine percent of the traffic collisions on Ammunition Road resulted in injury.
De Luz Road, a picturesque drive in Fallbrook’s northern sector is far from exempt of collisions; in fact, with 17 collisions in 2007, it also claims one of the highest collision percentages in the area. The intersection with the most collisions was Sandia Creek Drive (8 collisions), and 41% of the collisions resulted in injury.
Fallbrook’s main roadways and downtown are especially dangerous for both drivers and pedestrians, especially during mid-morning and afternoons, when more people are driving or walking around town.
“It’s not enough to check your blind spots in these areas, you have to almost expect someone to dart in front of your car or to run a red light,” said Newbury. “Drivers need to remember it’s not the roads that are dangerous; it’s the other drivers that are dangerous.”
On Mission Road last year, there were 16 collisions throughout the downtown Fallbrook stretch, with 46% of them resulting in injury.
However, with 15 collisions, Main Avenue had its troubles as well. The greatest number of collisions on Main occurred on the Fallbrook Street intersection (6 collisions), and 26% of the collisions resulted in injury.
When a driver approaches an intersection with blind spots in or around town, Newbury recommends that the driver inch forward out of the intersection into a place to be able to watch for any oncoming traffic and pedestrians, and once again, expect that other drivers do not see their car.
“It doesn’t matter how safe of a driver you think you are, if you are just checking your blind spots or just going the speed limit, it’s not enough,” said Newbury. “You have to do everything you can in order to be safe on the road.”
Other high collision roads with their intersections with the most collisions in 2007 include:
1 Alturas Road had 17 collisions, with the Ammunition Road intersection having the most collisions (5 collisions). Twenty-nine percent of the collisions resulted in injury.
2 Gird Road had 10 collisions, with the SR76 intersection having the most collisions (4 collisions). Forty-four percent of the collisions resulted in injury.
3 Fallbrook Street had nine collisions. Fifty-five percent of these resulted in injury.
4 Old Highway 395 had nine collisions. Eleven percent of these resulted in injury, and the one fatality brought the road's fatality percentage to 11%.
5 Old Stage Road had nine collisions, with the Clemmens Lane intersection having the most collisions (4). Thirty-three percent of the collisions resulted in injury.
6 Live Oak Park Road had seven collisions. Forty-three percent resulted in injury.
7 Potter Street had 6 collisions. Seventeen percent resulted in injury.
8 Stage Coach Lane had 8 collisions. Twenty-five percent of these resulted in injury.
9 Winterhaven Road had 8 collisions. Twenty-five percent resulted in injury.
10 Green Canyon Road had five collisions with forty percent of those resulting in injury.
To comment on this story online, visit http://www.thevillagenews.com.