Traffic Accidents:
We're #1!

This is the original, unedited version
of a Letter to the Editor that appeared in the
Dallas Morning News on Sunday, July 4, 1999.

As a long-time Dallas resident, you can imagine how pleased (and proud) I was to learn that not only is Texas the home of the nation's best hockey and basketball teams, we also led the nation in intersections with the most traffic accidents in 1998! In fact, the top two (and three of the top five) worst intersections in the whole country are right here in the Dallas area: Map Belt Line and Midway in Addison (263 accidents), Park and Preston in Plano (249 accidents), and Belt Line and Preston in Dallas (241 accidents).

I've been reflecting on the implications of these statistics, and I'd like to share my thoughts with you.

First of all: I think it's shameful that we in Dallas let both Addison and Plano slip past us in this important competition! Even worse, our occasional attention to good driving habits allowed both Schaumburg, Illinois and Beverly Hills, California, to sneak into the coveted third and fourth slots in the standings, when a measly four more accidents at Belt Line and Preston would have allowed the Dallas area to dominate our rivals with a clean one-two-three sweep. Oh well, like the Rangers say, there's always next year...

Also: I couldn't help but notice that if you plot the three winning intersections on a map, you create a pretty neat right triangle. Now, if we can only figure out a way to increase the number of accidents at Park and Midway, the intersections will form a nearly perfect rectangle, a freak occurrence which would have to make even the most callous statisticians shake their heads in awe and disbelief. I know what some of you are thinking: Park and Midway simply doesn't have enough traffic to generate enough traffic accidents to make the big leagues. But don't forget that a huge new church opened on that very corner just a couple of months ago, and that an enormous new shopping mall is going in right down the street. If that doesn't sound like an accident waiting to happen, I don't know what does.

Finally: When I worked in the cellular phone business a few years back, I remember hearing that Dallas had the highest penetration of wireless phones of any market in the country. I don't know if that's still the case -- but if it is, I wonder if there's any correlation between the fact that so many of us are driving around with cell phones glued to our ears and the fact that we can't seem to stop driving into each other...

Hank Mishkoff

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