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Wild Horses Aren’t the Only Things That Make SR 347 Dangerous

Wild Horses Aren’t the Only Things That Make SR 347 DangerousState Route 347 in Arizona is often celebrated for its scenic beauty, this seemingly serene stretch has earned a reputation far more ominous—one marked by a series of unfortunate, if not a bit surprising, incidents.

Cesar Sanchez, a frequent commuter between Maricopa and Levine, recently spoke to about what HE thinks might be a real issue for the road: wild horses. And the chances are, he’s right. Data from the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) revealed 315 car accidents on SR 347 in the most recent reporting year, with nine attributed to large wild animals.

Despite witnessing three car accidents during his regular trips, Sanchez noted a lack of warning signs about wild animals crossing the highway. He’s been advocating for increased signage to prevent accidents caused by these animals. No government agencies track the number of wild horses involved in car crashes, and the Estrella herd near Maricopa lacks dedicated organizations addressing this issue, prompting Sanchez and others to consider initiating change.

We hope he’s successful in his advocacy. However, we can’t help but note the other 306 accidents on SR 347 had nothing to do with wild animals, and we think that might be a more pressing concern.

SR 347’s dangerous reputation

In June 2023, ADOT shared concerning statistics with Maricopa residents regarding State Route 347 (SR 347) during a road safety analysis presentation. The data, spanning from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2022, revealed 967 reported crashes, averaging nearly one every other day for five years. While most collisions resulted in no injuries, 21 were serious, and 15 were fatal. The assessment focused on the 14-mile stretch between Maricopa’s north boundary and the I-10 interchange. The crash data emphasized commuter-related incidents, with 68% attributed to rear-end crashes, peaking during morning and evening rush hours. The Riggs Road intersection stood out as the site of the highest number of crashes on SR 347.

Riggs Road is a location with a history of fatal crashes. The area has witnessed tragic incidents, including a 2021 accident resulting in the death of a 7-year-old girl ejected from a recklessly driven car and a 2020 fatality involving a collision with a box truck. A 2016 crash near Riggs Road, involving up to 12 cars, claimed one life and injured several others. Recognizing the severity of the situation, even U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg visited the intersection a couple of years ago, emphasizing its perilous nature.

Efforts to make SR 347 safer

You may have already noticed increased road work on 347, as a collaborative effort between ADOT and the city of Maricopa began in October of 2023 to address traffic issues on State Route 347. The $7.3 million project, which is still ongoing, aims to alleviate congestion and improve travel times by widening an intersection and adding a third northbound lane on 1.3 miles of SR 347 from State Route 238 to the north of the city limits. Additional enhancements include widening the SR 347 and Lakeview Drive intersection, reconstructing the paved median, adding a northbound acceleration lane, and implementing curb and gutter improvements along the east side of SR 347. The project, set to continue until the summer of 2024, will begin traffic restrictions on October 16, with most construction occurring during weekdays. ADOT assures access to businesses and neighborhoods throughout the project’s duration.

In the road safety analysis conducted by ADOT earlier in 2023, they proposed further short-term recommendations, including re-striping roads, speed enforcement, additional signage, and re-evaluating speed limits. Longer-term projects, such as constructing an interchange at Riggs Road and adding lanes, were also outlined, although officials emphasized the time and funding required for implementation. Mayor Nancy Smith expressed optimism about the information exchange during the presentation, urging residents to share the insights within the community.

How can a Phoenix car accident attorney help me?

Being involved in a car accident on SR 347 due to someone’s reckless driving requires a strategic and well-documented response. First and foremost, prioritize your safety and the well-being of others involved by seeking medical attention for any injuries. Report the accident to law enforcement immediately. Collect evidence at the scene, including photographs of the damage, road conditions, and any relevant signage. Exchange contact information with the other party and gather details about their insurance coverage and vehicle registration.

To strengthen your legal position, identify and collect contact information from any witnesses who may have observed the reckless driving behavior. Refrain from admitting any fault or discussing liability at the scene, as such statements may be used against you later. Once you’ve addressed immediate concerns, consult with a qualified Phoenix personal injury attorney.

At Plattner Verderame, P.C., our legal team can guide you on how to navigate insurance claims, assess liability, and pursue legal action if necessary. It’s crucial to document all medical expenses, property damage, and any other losses incurred due to the accident, as these will be integral in building a solid legal case. Remember, a timely and thorough legal response is key in seeking compensation and holding the reckless driver accountable for their actions on SR 347. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your options, call us at our Phoenix or Tempe offices, or use our contact page.