CBS 17's inquires lead NCDOT to study Knightdale road

KNIGHTDALE, N.C. (WNCN) - A stretch of road in Knightdale that’s been the scene of numerous accidents is now being reviewed by the NCDOT after CBS 17 made inquiries.

Consumer investigator Steve Sbraccia made a public records request regarding the numbers of accidents along stretch of Old Knight Road following a spectacular crash on Labor Day weekend.

Residents in the 1200 Block of Old Knight Road between Terry Lane and Bryan Chalk Road complained that portion of the road is notorious.

And, the inquiries from CBS 17 have lead the North Carolina Department of Transportation to take a look at that part of the road.

There’s a long straightway before the hill and curve on Old Knight Road in the 1200 block where the speed limit is 45 miles an hour.

"We’re used to hearing accidents on this curve,” said area resident Jimmy Lyle. “It’s a lot worse than it looks. People drive too fast.”

The most recent accident involved a flaming wreck on Labor Day weekend where three area residents teamed up to rescue a driver who was trapped in his vehicle after the Highway Patrol says he ran off the road doing 80 miles an hour.

“People fly up and down this road every day,” said area resident Brian Kearney. "It’s a matter of time before it happens again.”

CBS 17 wanted to know just how bad that stretch of road really is, so Sbraccia asked the NCDOT to pull accident records from 2013 until now.

Here’s what we found:

  • There have been six accidents since 2015 including a fatal one.
  • All but one of those accidents happened in the daylight on dry roads.
  • In 5 of those cases, people ran off the road into a ditch, or struck a utility pole or tree.

NCDOT traffic safety Specialist Chris Oliver said “six accidents that period is a pretty low statistic” for a road that handles an average of 6,800 vehicles a day.

He also said the NCDOT has a “highway safety program that screens for accident patterns” but because the number accidents on that stretch of Old Knight Road was so low—“it didn’t trigger a review in the system.”

But, CBS 17’s records request did trigger a review.

Oliver says the crash analysis Sbraccia requested “was forwarded to the division traffic engineer for review,”which will include someone physically taking a look at the area.

Some neighbors who live near that curve wonder: Can something be done to improve safety along that portion of road?

“Maybe the town will eventually put a guardrail here,” said Kearney.

Late Friday afternoon, a spokesman for division traffic engineer’s office said a review of the scene indicates it is not a place where they would put guardrails.

He also said, following a fatal accident on that stretch of road in 2016, the division engineer's office took a look at the area and recommended that warning signs indicating a bad curve be replaced and updated.

He said those sign changes were completed in early 2017.

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