Posted 5:00 PM 5/18/2012 : What are the five most dangerous intersections in Pima County?
TUCSON - When hitting the road, we may consider things like the time it takes to the destination and if we need gas, but rarely do we consider the danger of getting behind the wheel when mapping our route.
News 4 Tucson's Nichole Szemerei researched the five "most dangerous" intersections in Pima County, many of which the average Southern Arizona resident travels frequently.
That's because the Safety Management System bases its rankings on volume, crashes, and the severity of those crashes.
The Pima County Department of Transportation says these intersections shouldn't be considered "dangerous roads" - it's driver behavior that creates incidents in these areas.
The number of vehicles passing through River and La Canada every day is 58,372 - the heaviest volume of the five intersections listed here. The amount of cars going through an intersection is a key factor in the county's consideration for review.
The Department of Transportation will look at numerous crossroads and see if there's anything that needs to be done to make them safer.
"It's about 5 to 10 every year, and kind of analyze it, and see the cost of the improvements and when we can do it," said Priscilla Cornelio with the Pima County DOT.
One of the top spots for accidents is Wetmore and Flowing Wells. According to the DOT, this intersection has some sight visibility issues.
There are 88 accidents here every 3 years - that breaks down to about 2.5 a month.
But La Cholla and Ruthrauff has about 1.7 accidents for every million vehicles entering the intersection. This means there are less accidents, but a higher crash rate.
"There's obviously some safety issues that we need to go out and try to care of it," Cornelio said.
Although those last two spots have a lot of accidents, the majority of them could be fender benders.
The more serious crashes are seen at River and Swan. The National Safety Council gave this the highest severity index rating out of all five locations, meaning there are more severe injury accidents and fatalities.
The last intersection making the top five list is Valencia and Cardinal.
"There have been numerous, numerous fatalities there," Cornelio said. "So that is at the top of our list to try to take care of it."
The intersection at Valencia and Cardinal is under construction right now - the RTA gave funding to widen it, and to put in sidewalks and street lighting.
"Again, it's because there were so many people that were crossing the street at night and that's where all of the accidents were," Cornelio said.
So there you have it - five of the most dangerous places you can drive in the county.
Traffic engineers have been called out to many of these areas to study and make recommendations. The Department of Transportation says even with strict planning, sometimes you don't know until the statistics come out what may need to be tweaked to make sure the public is safe.
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