08/14/12 — Wayne among highest in truck crashes

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Wayne among highest in truck crashes

By John Joyce
Published in News on August 14, 2012 1:46 PM

Wayne County ranks as the fourth highest county in North Carolina in the number of accidents involving tractor-trailers, according to statistics released by AAA Carolinas.

The AAA Carolinas ratings system listed the top five finishers in several categories, which included motorcycle crashes as well as overall ratings for safest and deadliest counties, with regard to traffic incidents.

Wayne County avoided the top five deadliest, but did not make the top five safest, either.

The remaining counties with high volumes of tractor-trailer collisions in which none were killed are Anson, Bladen, Polk and Lee.

According to the report, the deadliest county in North Carolina is Clay, with five times as many fatal accidents as the state average per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.

Graham, Hyde, Robeson and Hertford counties round out the top five deadliest in the state.

"Rural counties have roads that are generally narrower, with more curves, lower shoulders, faded or non-existent road markings and less police presence than major highways," said David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas.

Parsons attributes the accidents to speeding, drinking and the volume of young drivers.

The State Highway Patrol in Wayne County has recorded only eight traffic fatalities so far this year.

"In 2011, there were 16 fatal crashes in Wayne County," said Jennifer Garifo, communications officer of the N.C. Department of Transportation.

"Of the 16 fatalities, 12 occurred in rural areas while only four took place in Goldsboro," said Ms. Garifo, substantiating the statistical implication that rural roads are more deadly than their more densely-populated counterparts.

Hyde, Richmond, Yadkin, Ashe and Northampton comprise the counties with the most tractor-trailer related fatalities.

The AAA report ranks the most dangerous counties for motorcycles as well with Graham County topping that list. The Tennessee bordering county, according to the report, boasts a winding stretch of mountainous road known to riders as "the tail of the dragon."

This 11-mile run consists of 318 dangerous curves and tops the list for collisions both deadly and non-deadly.

Although three vehicle-related deaths occur each day on North Carolina roads, the number of traffic fatalities is in decline over the last three years. More than 1,300 traffic deaths were recorded in 2009 compared to 1,217 in 2011.