This road tops the list for crashes in 2 Northeast Florida counties

News4Jax I-TEAM looks at intersections with most crashes, county by county

The News4Jax I-TEAM spent months poring through crash reports local agencies and the Florida Highway Patrol submitted to the state’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, compiling the data to see which spots had the highest totals.

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Car crashes can be inconvenient at best and deadly at worst.

Wrecks are a daily occurrence in Northeast Florida. The small ones tie up traffic. The bad ones change lives forever.

In Jacksonville alone, traffic records show 205 people lost their lives on the road in 2020.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Explore crash data in your neighborhood using the map below

The News4Jax I-TEAM spent months poring through crash reports local agencies and the Florida Highway Patrol submitted to the state’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, compiling the data to see which spots had the highest totals.

One local street sticks out from the pack with several of the most cited intersections for crashes.

Jacksonville’s Sheriff’s Office Lt. Shannon Hartley and Officer Donny Almonte see preventable wrecks daily, including one that unfolded as News4Jax was filming this investigation.

“It’s exactly what we’re trying to stop, Vic, every single day,” Hartley said after checking to make sure everyone was okay in a three-car crash at Atlantic and Southside boulevards. He believed it was caused by a distracted driver. Thankfully, no one needed to go to the hospital.

“A lot of people get complacent driving,” said Almonte, who is assigned to JSO’s traffic unit. “They forget that they have a 1000, 2000, 4000-pound machine and they need to be in charge of that.”

The I-TEAM used state data to examine traffic crashes recorded in 2020.

In Duval County, one road had more crashes than any other: Blanding Boulevard. Intersections along this congested stretch of road took the top three spots.

Blanding and Youngerman Circle had 116 crashes. A block away, Blanding and Argyle Forest Boulevard had 90. Blanding and Collins had 72. Blanding and 103rd Street had 59.

IntersectionCrash Total (2020)
Blanding Blvd & Youngerman Cir116
Blanding Blvd & Argyle Forest Blvd90
Blanding Blvd & Collins Rd72
Atlantic Blvd & Southside Blvd69
103rd St & Ricker Rd66
103rd St & Blanding Blvd59
Beach Blvd & Hodges Blvd56
Beach Blvd & Southside Blvd55
Baymeadows Rd & Southside Blvd54
Claire Ln & San Jose Blvd51

“It doesn’t surprise me at all,” driver Kenlie Halstead told News4Jax. “The traffic is always so bad.”

Other dangerous intersections included Atlantic and Southside boulevards, 103rd Street and Ricker Road, and Beach Boulevard and Hodges Boulevard.

Blanding Boulevard also topped the list for crashes in Clay County.

There were 127 wrecks reported at Blanding and Wells Road, just south of the Clay-Duval county line. Another 86 were recorded at Kingsley Avenue and 55 were listed at Blanding and County Road 218.

IntersectionCrash Total (2020)
Blanding Blvd & Wells Rd127
Blanding Blvd & Kingsley Ave86
Blanding Blvd & CR 21855
CR 220 & Town Center Blvd45
CR 220 & U.S. 1743
Blanding Blvd & College Dr42
Blanding Blvd & Spencer Rd38
Blanding Blvd & Camp Francis Johnson Rd36
Park Ave & Wells Rd35
Kingsley Ave & Park Ave33

The frequency of crashes keeps tow truck driver Josh Crews and the team at Superior Enterprise on the go 24/7.

“You’re in bumper to bumper traffic, you can see them on their phone,” Crews said. “Not paying attention. And that cut back on reaction time. From the time they look up, ‘Oh crap,’ well it’s too late.”

St. Johns County’s biggest numbers are at U.S. 1 and State Road 312 with 78 crashes in 2020. (Interstate crash data was not included in our analysis.)

IntersectionCrash Total (2020)
SR 312 & U.S. 178
N. Ponce de Leon Blvd & SR 1625
Old Moultrie Rd & SR 31223
SR 207 & Wildwood Dr20
Outlet Mall Blvd & SR 1620
SR 13 & SR 1619
SR 206 & U.S. 118
SR 207 & SR 31217
Four Mile Rd & SR 1617
Lewis Point Rd & U.S. 116

Nassau County’s worst intersection is Chester Road and State Road 200 with 26 crashes.

“This one happened by the shop, it came in not paying attention,” Kiara Coates said as she walked through a line of mangled cars at her family’s auto repair shop, Midway Paint and Body Shop on Beach Boulevard.

“I get all the stories,” Coates said, noting that many people don’t fess up to being the driver at fault. “I think some were fabricated.”

She said distracted driving and excessive speeds appear to be the most common causes for crashes. Repairs, especially nowadays with the way vehicles are built, are pricey.

JSO and other agencies track crashes with the data the I-TEAM obtained. That data helps officers know where to focus their education and enforcement efforts, Hartley said.

It’s why Hartley, who supervises JSO’s traffic unit, assigned officers like Almonte to high-traffic sites, like Atlantic and Southside boulevards. And while Almonte does write tickets, he said he’s more focused on letting people know about dangers on the road.

“I would say the toughest part of my job is having to tell somebody their loved one who they just spoke with two hours ago is no longer with us,” Almonte said. “That’s a pretty tough assignment to have to deal with.”

As far as why these intersections have the most wrecks, the data doesn’t offer much of an explanation. Police said they are some of the most heavily trafficked, and more traffic means more chances for crashes.

Editor’s note: Not every crash counted in this data might fit what you think of as an “intersection crash.” Some crashes may have happened in the middle of an intersection while others may have been near the intersection. The data was compiled using the two streets listed in the report database. Crashes involving an interstate were filtered out, as were crashes involving highways like J. Turner Butler Blvd. A great deal of work went into standardizing names, so that names that appeared slightly differently in the database were counted together. However, you may still see two pins for the same intersection, if a standardization was missed. The below map shows intersections with five or more crashes (in Duval County, 10 or more crashes).

About the Author:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.