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Fire officials: Excessive speed tops list of reasons for crashes

Assistant Fire Chief Brad Fraizer has been a part of the city of Columbia’s Vision Zero effort for just over a year. The city agreed to adopt the policy in 2016, with the goal of eliminating all traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030.

Fraizer is a member of the crash analysis and engineering teams, and has been studying the trends and patterns from five years of traffic crash data.

“Excessive speed is really up there at the top of the list,” he said.

According to Fraizer, data shows crashes happen even on straight roads, but roads that have curves and poor line of sight issues present an even bigger problem.

“A vehicle travels just under 60 feet a second going 40 mph,” he said. “If you’re not paying attention, especially on a windy road, you’re going to cover a lot of ground really fast, and it’s hard to regain control if you lose control.”

A teenager died in a single car crash on I-70 Drive Southwest near Sorrells Overpass in Columbia over the weekend. According to the Highway Patrol’s crash data, it was the first fatal crash on that stretch of road in just under a decade.

Columbia police said the 18-year-old lost control of his vehicle Saturday morning, but the investigation has not yet revealed why.

The road can be treacherous, especially at night, because it features sharp curves with a poor line of sight. The area is also heavily wooded and deer can be a problem.

“This time of year, the deer tend to be moving around a lot more,” said Fraizer.

Traffic volume is also a factor. Rock Quarry Road has more vehicle volume than I-70 Drive Southwest, but it is similarly narrow and windy.

While there have only been a handful of crashes near Sorrells Overpass on I-70 Drive in the past five years, there have been more than two dozen crashes on Rock Quarry Road in the same time frame.

“We would encourage people to obey the speed limit but also keep the speed down to an appropriate level for the roadway, the conditions and the time of day,” said Fraizer.

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