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Attorneys list high-crash intersections

Road Commission disagrees

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published April 11, 2017

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TROY — Using 2016 data provided by the Michigan State Police, Michigan Auto Law, auto accident attorneys, compiled a list of the “Top 20 Most Dangerous Intersections,” ranking the Interstate 75 interchange in Troy fifth. 

According to the group’s website, www.michiganautolaw.com, the stats include any accident that occurred within 250 feet of an intersection, including turnarounds and highway on/off ramps.

The I-75/Big Beaver interchange was named the fifth-most dangerous intersection, with 134 crashes and 27 injury crashes. Nearby, the intersection of 16 Mile and Mound roads ranked 12th with 93 crashes and 27 injury crashes. The I-75/M-59 interchange ranked 13th with 92 crashes and 31 injury crashes. 

The data was pulled from the Michigan State Police Traffic Crash Reporting Unit, according to Michigan Auto Law.

Michigan Auto Law attorney Todd Berg said the group has requested the data from the Michigan State Police and compiled the list for a few years. 

“We do this as a public service,” he said. “We do this because we are concerned about public safety.” 

He noted that when the group compiled the list last year, the I-75/Big Beaver interchange had 124 crashes and ranked fifth. 

“It’s important for people to know where the high-frequency crashes are and be extra cautious at whichever intersection or maybe take a different route,” Berg said. 

Lori Dougovito, of the Michigan State Police public affairs section, said the state police pulled the specific data the group requested, but didn’t run the report. 

The Orchard Lake Road/14 Mile Road roundabout in Farmington Hills was listed as the most dangerous intersection on this year’s list, with 163 total crashes and 27 injury crashes. 

Orchard Lake Road, an Oakland County-owned road, is one that Craig Bryson — public information officer for the Road Commission for Oakland County — said is a high-traffic-volume intersection. He said the law group is not looking at crash rates or severity, and that the group didn’t formulate the crashes correctly. He said the group classed all of the crashes as “dangerous,” when some of them “were not dangerous at all,” Bryson said, specifically referring to the Farmington Hills/West Bloomfield border intersection.

“What we’ve always seen is high-traffic-volume intersections always have more crashes than lower-volume intersections,” Bryson said. “The traffic volume can be high or low regardless if it is a roundabout.”

He added that when looking at the crash rates, people should consider the types of crashes that occur. 

“From our point of view, the crash rate is a more useful number than the raw number of crashes,” he said. “We analyze data constantly, but we are looking at the crash rate.”

He said the Road Commission also looks at the types of crashes.

“What the law firm didn’t do is tell you whether those crashes are serious injuries or whether they are very minor crashes,” he said. “What we know from looking at and analyzing the data is that the roundabouts ... are very minor crashes with very little injuries,” he said. “So we are more interested in an intersection that has fewer total crashes, but where there are more serious injury crashes or fatalities.”

Bryson said that if one intersection, for example, had 100 minor injury crashes and another intersection had 20 fatalities, the latter intersection is a “much more serious problem” because the crashes are more serious.

Troy Sgt. Meghan Lehman said Troy police continually compile crash data, and while crashes do occur along Big Beaver Road — especially eastbound, from Crooks to Dequindre, during rush hour — the I-75 interchange does not place as a high-frequency crash intersection. 

“We have a data-driven approach to traffic enforcement and target other intersections where crashes occur,” Lehman said. 

“Crooks Road and Big Beaver Road is a known crash location,” she said. “Traffic specialists go into an intersection looking for driving patterns and address them. Anywhere along Big Beaver Road is an area we’re going to look at because of the traffic volumes.” 

Lehman said that in January there were 14 crashes at Crooks and Big Beaver roads, 13 crashes at Big Beaver and Rochester roads, 10 at Big Beaver and John R roads, and six at Big Beaver and Dequindre roads. 

Lehman noted that more crashes occur during inclement weather, including rain. 

According to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, the average daily traffic count for Big Beaver and John R roads, observed in 2011, was 21,100 cars per day. At Rochester and Big Beaver roads, that number was 22,700. At Big Beaver and Crooks roads, observed in 2015, the volume was 14,500 cars per day. At Big Beaver and Dequindre roads, observed in 2012, the traffic volume was 23,400 cars per day. 

For more information on the Michigan Auto Law group’s report, go to www.michiganautolaw.com/blog.

Staff Writer Sherri Kolade contributed to this report.

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