Franklin-Bingham Farms police officers are reporting increased car accidents in the community, largely stemming from construction forcing more traffic onto fewer streets.

Franklin-Bingham Farms police officers are reporting increased car accidents in the community, largely stemming from construction forcing more traffic onto fewer streets.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

Car accidents increase on local roads

By: Brendan Losinski, Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published June 29, 2018


FRANKLIN/BINGHAM FARMS — Car accidents are on the rise in Franklin and Bingham Farms, and police officers believe increased traffic due to construction may be the cause.

“We’re up about 20 crashes from last year,” said Sgt. Mike Bastinelli, of the Franklin-Bingham Farms Police Department. “We only have a mile and a half of Telegraph Road, and it’s by far our biggest road, so being up 20 crashes is pretty significant for a small community like ours that is only 4.5 square miles.”

Bastinelli said patrol officers are seeing increased fender-bender danger due to more cars having to drive on the same roads at the same time.

“We had approximately 100 crashes year-to-date in 2017, and we have 119 this year,” he explained. “The only theory that we can guess is that because there are so many road closures, you are diverting more vehicles to major thoroughfares; 13 Mile Road is closed from Inkster to Northwestern, for instance. It’s a link to all the subdivisions in that area, and with it closed, it is forcing drivers to and from work onto routes they’re not as familiar with. This construction is choking up major roads, which pushes traffic other places.”

Not all departments are seeing a significant increase in accidents, however.

“Year to date, we are about nine accidents over last year, and I wouldn’t really call that an uptick, but we do have more than last year, though,” said Deputy Chief Howard Shock, of the Beverly Hills Department of Public Safety. “In 2017, we had 119. This year, we had 128.”

Shock added that in the past, construction has caused major backups in Beverly Hills, but this year the effects have not been as bad.

“It’s funny, because in years past, such as when Evergreen Road was shut down, we’ve had problems with accidents and traffic because of construction,” remarked Shock. “Fortunately, the construction hasn’t impacted us very much this year.”

Bastinelli said the department is trying to cut down on gawking and to ensure that patrol cars are always in the area during rush hour to do what they can to prevent more accidents.

“During high traffic times, we make sure our officers are in the area, particularly along Telegraph Road, which is by far the biggest thoroughfare in our area. Our officers have been diverting traffic stops off the main roads to reduce gawkers or further closing other lanes.”

Birmingham has also seen small increases in accidents in 2018, but Cmdr. Scott Grewe, of the Birmingham Police Department, said construction is unlikely to blame.

“I pulled the number of accidents that have been reported that took place on Old Woodward or where Old Woodward was listed as the intersecting street,” said Grewe. “From April 1 to today, there has been one more accident reported in 2018 versus the same time frame in 2017, and year-to-date there have been 12 more accidents in 2018 compared to 2017, 11 of which would have taken place before the construction started. Again, these are reports that took place on Old Woodward or a side street close to Old Woodward. Based on these numbers, there has been no jump in accidents reported since the start of construction.”

Bastinelli said a significant number of the car accidents in his community are fender benders and added that the best advice he can give to drivers to cut down on car accidents is to be particularly careful and patient.

“We advise people to be patient and pay attention to stop-and-go crashes,” he said. “A lot of these are rear-end accidents in heavy stop-and-go traffic. Probably 80 percent it’s accidents like that resulting from people not paying attention or doing something like texting behind the wheel. Let people into traffic, be courteous and be patient. Always leave space, and never tailgate. It doesn’t get you anywhere faster.”