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      Intersections more dangerous with distracted drivers

      This weeks Facebook Friday story is about dangerous intersections.

      Viewers wanted to know what the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and their local county road commission are doing to keep intersections safe.

      Officials said monitoring intersections is a collective effort from the road commission, law enforcement and MDOT but it is also very important that drivers pay attention when they are out on the roads.

      Once you get behind the wheel, there is a chance that an accident or crash can happen but the best way to prevent it is to pay attention.

      When it comes to distractions, some drivers agree that driving defensively is key.

      "People are texting or talking on the phone pretty often. I'm always making sure that I'm watching out for the other person, that's for sure, because a lot of times they're not paying attention to what they're doing and I want to make sure they're not going to hit me," said Bren Balzarini, motorist.

      On the TV6 & FOX UP Facebook page Amy Cayer said she sees other drivers, "Texting, talking on the phone, and putting on makeup."

      MDOT's Transportation Service Center Manager Andy Sikkema said the busier an intersection, the more likely a crash will happen but most crashes occur because of driver error.

      "Motorists, as they come up to an intersection need to be alert and make sure that they have the right of way when they enter the intersection but also drive defensively and make sure the other vehicles are properly yielding you the right of way," said Sikkema.

      Michigan Traffic Crash Facts found in 2011 there were 10,548 reported crashes in the U.P. and 39 were fatal.

      The website said of all fatal crashes, 15.4 percent occurred at intersections.

      When it comes to specific areas that may have more accidents than others the Marquette County Road Commission looks at the data and then decides if something needs to be changed.

      "On County Road 480 and Healy Avenue in the city of Negaunee we were seeing people blowing the stop sign so what we worked on was bigger stop signs out there and adding two stop signs to the 480 leg," said Jim Iwanicki, engineer manager for the Marquette County Road Commission.

      With U.S. 41 running through some high traffic business areas in Marquette County, MDOT meets once a month with local law enforcement and other local agencies to get updates on certain intersections.

      Then MDOT uses the information to make adjustments or improvements to that location.