Perillo and McGorty Address High Vehicle Accident Volume: Rt. 8 Shelton

Posted on January 30, 2024


As originally published by the Shelton Herald, By Brian Gioiele.

SHELTON — Route 8 through Shelton has been home to numerous major crashes — and several fatalities — over the years, and local emergency responders say excessive speed and distracted drivers are the main cause.

Shelton Fire Chief Francis T. Jones III said the fire crews responded to 102 incidents along Route 8 in Shelton, north and southbound, in 2023, with 79 of those being motor vehicle crashes. Of those accidents, five required extrications and three included fatalities.

Over a six-year period the department has responded to Route 8 in Shelton for 590 calls, according to Jones, so the 102 calls last year were slightly above average.

“It appears most of the accidents are due to speed and drivers not paying attention,” Jones said.

The area’s danger came into focus again within the past few weeks with a fatality near Exit 14 north on Dec. 2 and a one-car crash on Jan 1. in which the driver was seriously injured when his vehicle crashed off Route 8 into a ravine.

Jones said most crashes occur near exits 12 and 13 north and southbound and the Exit 14 northbound area.

State Rep. Ben McGorty said he, Jones and fellow state Rep. Jason Perillo met with state Department of Transportation and police officials in 2020 to discuss the number of crashes along the stretch of highway.

“We drove the road in a minivan. Then we stood on the overpass, and all of us were in agreement that there is a problem with that lane,” McGorty said. “DOT came back (and stated) they will shorten the lane but not remove it.”

Perillo said DOT completed a study of the area after that visit, and said it confirmed that the slow truck lanes between exits 12 and 13 are “mostly used by cars to pass on the right.”

Perillo said the slow lane being used as a passing lane causes driver confusion and leads to speeding.

“We were informed that DOT will shorten the lane when it repaves,” said Perillo, although he said there was no timeline for the work.

A DOT official confirmed that the extra lane would be reduced at some point in the future, but there was no timetable for when that could be.

Jones said other suggestions included more enforcement at all hours, since the most serious incidents occur when there is less traffic and higher rates of speed.

“Incidents that occur during high volume hours appear to be a combination of drivers not paying attention that traffic has slowed down and speeding,” Jones said.