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Blackout brings increase in traffic accidents

September 8, 2011 |  6:20 pm

Click here for more photos of the blackout.Officials reported an increase in reports of traffic accidents Thursday afternoon after a massive blackout in parts of Southern California shut down traffic signals and slowed the commute to a crawl.

Orange County Fire Authority spokesman Mark Stone said officials were still trying to get an exact count but said there had been "numerous" traffic crashes after the blackout.

Most of the accidents were fender benders and occurred in the South Orange County area.

PHOTOS: Blackout leaves 1.4 million without power

"We are getting pretty random calls," he said. "But we are seeing an influx of those random calls."

San Diego Gas and Electric said the outage appears to have originated in Arizona and that the agency was working with California power officials to bring the power back. Officials said the outages extended across Southern California and into Arizona and Baja California.

The loss of power led to a shutdown of two reactors at the San Onofre nuclear power plant.


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-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Traffic is backed up after stoplights were disabled because of a massive blackout that hit Southern California. Credit: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images