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US 17 in Clay County known as deadly stretch of highway

6 deaths since 2015 prompt new traffic studies

Fleming Island, Fla. – Since 2015, there have been at least six deaths on a short stretch of US Highway 17 near County Road 220 near Fleming Island, and the Florida Department of Transportation wants to know why.

Most recently, a person died in a five-car pileup last week and neighbors said they have an idea as to why it has become so dangerous.

"Speed, definitely speed," Michael Cisco, of the New Leaf Vapor Company, located on U.S. 17, said. "You mix speed and not paying attention, and you know what the result is.”

Another concern is the lack of shoulder room on the highway, so if drivers do have to pull over, they're essentially pulling over into a ditch.

"Not really paying attention, switching lanes, and it's worse when there's more people on the road because there's more people prone to get hit," said Amanda Lodge.

The Florida Department of Transportation is listening. It plans on doing two studies near Fleming island. 

One will look at how fast people are going and if they are following the posted speed limits. The second will analyze crash data to see if things needs to change from an engineering stand point.

The speed study should only take a few weeks, but the safety study could take months depending on how much information they have to analyze.