Report: Robeson roads dangerous

First Posted: 4/23/2010

CHARLOTTE Roads in Robeson County are among the deadliest in the state, according to a AAA Carolinas analysis of 2008 crashes.
Robeson County is ranked fourth in the state for the best chance of being killed in a traffic crash, according to the AAA report. Fifty-eight people died on the countys roads during 2008.
The study found that traffic deaths in North Carolina were more likely in rural counties and those that border South Carolina or Virginia. Hertford, Tyrrell, Columbus, Robeson and Lenoir counties top AAAs list of dangerous counties for 2008 fatalities, the latest year for which statistics are available.
Those five counties represented 8 percent of 2008 traffic deaths but only 3 percent of the states total vehicle miles traveled.
The total number of crashes in Robeson County in 2008 was 3,386, resulting in 2,552 people injured.
There are several factors when considering traffic crash figures for Robeson County, said 1st Sgt. Freddy Johnson, who works the Robeson County district for the state Highway Patrol.
Robeson County is the largest county in the state, geographically, and the Department of Transportation says Robeson has the most paved roads of any county in North Carolina, Johnson said.
Weve got 40 miles of Interstate 95, and 18 miles of the new I-74, Johnson said.
He said excessive speed and driver fatigue are also reasons for the high number of fatalities.
State transportation officials say rural roads are generally narrow, with lower shoulders, less police presence than major highways and have more curves. It is also more difficult to enforce traffic laws when violators cross state lines and traffic enforcement efforts vary from state to state.
Safety is our No. 1 priority, and were working hard to make our roads as safe as possible, said Transportation Secretary Gene Conti. Motorists can do their part by slowing down, paying close attention, never drinking and driving, and always wearing their seat belts, which is their best defense if theyre in a crash.
North Carolina traffic deaths dropped by 15 percent in 2008 to 1,452, the first time the state has had fewer than 1,500 traffic fatalities since 1998. That was largely attributed to 2 percent fewer miles traveled in a down economy and more targeted traffic enforcement on crash-prone roads and highways.
Johnson said many things have led to the drop in overall traffic deaths statewide, including aggressive enforcement, a lot of safety messages we put out to the public … and were working closer with local law enforcement on speed enforcement, seat belts and a lot of other things.
Johnson said the decrease in traffic fatalities statewide continued in 2009.
In 2007, the North Carolina was ranked 13th most dangerous state per mile driven with a fatality rate at 1.62 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, according to Fatality Analysis Reporting System. The 2008 rate was 1.43 for North Carolina, an improvement from 2007.
South Carolina was ranked third most dangerous state in the nation in the same 2007 analysis.
For all vehicles in North Carolina the total number of crashes in 2008 decreased about 4 percent to 214,359, and injury crashes dropped about 6 percent to 71,776.
AAA Carolinas annual Dangerous County analysis was inaugurated in 1995.

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