Police list city's top five accident-prone locations

Chief blames driver error; drivers blame street design
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Rocklin Police have released accident data, which reveals the five intersections that appear to have a high rate of accidents. The data collected by Rocklin Police from 2009 through the first six months of this year shows the intersections that appear to be accident-prone. Topping the list was Pacific Street and Sunset Boulevard with 72 accidents between Jan 1, 2009 and June 5, 2012, according to data collected by Rocklin Police. Rocklin resident and driver Christy, who only gave her first name, said she?s not surprised by the number one location. She admits she has been involved in three accidents, although none of them were in Rocklin. ?Pacific Street at Sunset Boulevard? I almost get hit there on a weekly basis,? she said. At No.2 on the list was Sunset Boulevard at Park Drive where 61 accidents have been reported to police. ?I live in Rocklin and I hate driving here,? Michelle Ella said. ?For the amount of traffic that flows through our streets, there should really not be as much hassle as there is and as many accidents.? No.3 on the list is Rocklin Road at the westbound exit of Interstate 80 with 60 crashes. Sierra College student Stacy Yale, of Rocklin, said that even though she has been driving for eight years, she prefers to ride her bike to school. ?I feel it is more dangerous (to drive). There are accidents all the time right there,? Yale said. ?I think the problem with this one (intersection)is there is too much traffic and not enough lanes, especially during school.? Fourth on the list is Lonetree Boulevard at Sunset Boulevard with 55 vehicle accidents over four years Fifth is Sunset Boulevard at Springview Drive with 54 crashes. In reviewing the list of accident-prone intersections, Rocklin Police Chief Ron Lawrence suggests that driver in-attention is the primary cause of accidents in Rocklin. ?Drivers are often easily distracted by cell phones, including phone calls and texting, passengers talking and children yelling in their car distracting them,? Lawrence said. Other self-initiated distractions may be a factor in collisions, he added. ?Drivers attempt to do things they shouldn?t do while driving, such as eat food, comb their hair or put makeup on,? he said. ?It only takes a fraction of a second of in-attention from the roadway to cause an accident.? The data released by Rocklin Police does not include fault or severity. Nor does the data reflect the potential for red light violations. ?Some drivers attempt to beat a red light by speeding up through a yellow light,? he said. ?This is not what yellow lights are intended for. A yellow light signals to drivers to slow down and prepare to stop. Unfortunately, some drivers believe a yellow light is their signal to hurry up and beat the red light. This causes them to run the red light and often causes accidents.? Changing lanes in an intersection or changing lanes while making a turn can also result in an accident. ?Drivers should use caution to remain in their own traffic lane and change lanes only when safe to do so,? Lawrence said. Rocklin driver Martha Smith said she was hit by a postal delivery truck while attempting a double lane change on Sunset Boulevard westbound from Stanford Ranch Road. While that intersection was not on the list, Smith believes accidents in general are very stressful. ?Accidents are incredibly depressing and scary. You are concerned about yourself, about anyone else in the car and the people in the other car. Then further ramification is how this is going to end up affecting my insurance,? Smith said. AAA, a motorist advocacy group, reported that accidents cost per capita about $1,051 per person annually. Rocklin?s Police Chief looks forward to the day when technology allows for driverless cars. ?Until then, we encourage drivers to follow the rules of the road and drive courteously,? Lawrence said. ________ Top 5 accident-prone intersections From Jan. 1, 2009 to June 5, 2012 1. Pacific Street at Sunset Boulevard: 72 2. Sunset Boulevard at Park Drive: 61 3. Rocklin Road at westbound Interstate 80: 60 4. Lonetree Boulevard at Sunset Boulevard: 55 5. Sunset Boulevard at Springview Drive: 54 Source: Rocklin Police