Dangerous intersections: Southside

By Colter Anstaett - Southside Bureau Reporter

MARTINSVILLE (WSLS 10) - According to the Martinsville Police Department, during a two and a half week monitoring period from May 20 to June 6, 2016, 117,000 cars passed through the intersection of Commonwealth Boulevard and Market Street.

To put that in perspective, the city's population is just under 14,000.

"We had 10 accidents there last year. Two of those accidents involved personal injury," said Martinsville Police Department Capt. Robert Fincher.


But despite having the highest number of accidents, that doesn't necessarily make it the most dangerous, according to the police department.

"Considering the number of people that go through, when you take that into account compared to other intersections it's not any more dangerous than any of the others," Fincher explained.

In fact, intersections in general are not necessarily even the most dangerous places in the city for drivers.

"Some of our more serious accidents occur outside of intersections," Fincher said.

In an effort to increase traffic safety citywide, the police department helps facilitate a transportation safety committee made up of citizens who meet on a monthly basis.

"They are given the information that we receive and they help decide, along with the city engineer, what direction we want to go when it comes to establishing things such as how an intersection is controlled," Fincher explained.

Over in Danville, preliminary data for 2016 shows that the intersection of Piedmont Drive and Westover Drive saw more crashes than any other intersection in 2016.


According to the police department, there were 17 crashes.

Not since 2011, when the intersection had 19, has it ranked number one.

"One of the things is rushing the yellow," said Danville Police Department Cpl. Tim Scearce, when asked what may be behind the crashes.

Other factors the police department believes are behind the crashes include people trying to beat oncoming traffic when they're making a left turn and running into the back of the car in front of them when they take off because the car in front of them didn't take off as fast.

"We can reach out to our counterparts over at traffic control. They can always come in and make sure the timing sequences are correct on the lights and everything's up to par with that," explained Scearce.

Another option is to look at intersections like Piney Forest and Franklin Turnpike that have been redesigned recently.

According to the police department, the redesign at Piney Forest and Franklin Turnpike has been surprisingly successful.

"One of the surprises this year was Piney Forest and Franklin Turnpike," said Scearce. "I don't even think it made it into the double digits."

In 2015 it was tied for second with eight crashes and in 2014 was alone in second with 10.

The city's official 2016 traffic data will be submitted to the state in March.

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