Intersections safer despite accident numbers

Posted at 9:33 PM, Jan 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-06 08:43:29-05

The intersection with the most traffic accidents in Oakland County features a roundabout at M-5 and Pontiac Trail in Commerce Township.  

One-hundred-sixteen crashes occurred in 2015, according to preliminary data from the Traffic Improvement Association of Michigan, but officials insist the roadway is safer because of the roundabout.

"It carries 60,000 trips per day, 18 million trips a year," said Craig Bryson, spokesman for the Road Commission of Oakland County. "That's a very busy intersection."

That's 20 more incidents than the intersection at 12 Mile Road and Telegraph Road in Southfield, which has a traditional signal to control traffic. 

Maple and Orchard Lake Roads in West Bloomfield Township ranked third in the number of accidents with 68. Farmington Road at Maple Road in West Bloomfield Township, which also has a roundabout, had 61 accidents in 2015. Big Beaver Road at Rochester Road also had 61, according to the data.

Reducing fatalities and the severity of accidents that do occur are key benefits of the change from traffic signals to roundabouts, according to Bryson.

"In the 16 years since we built the first roundabout, we've had zero fatalities in a roundabout in Oakland County, and very few serious injuries," he told 7 Action News.

Although still relatively new in the U-S, modern traffic roundabouts are becoming more widespread around the country.

"I've never had a problem with it because I try to follow the speed limits and stuff and I pay attention to the roads," said Julio Lee, who travels the stretch of M-5 regularly for school and to visit friends. But he's quick to point out others do not and drive too fast. 

Shonita Colbert is still not comfortable when confronted with a roundabout.

"It's really scary." she said. "The speed is slower, but you're still very afraid that you're going to get into an accident."