07/15/13 — Goldsboro 10th in accidents

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Goldsboro 10th in accidents

By John Joyce
Published in News on July 15, 2013 1:49 PM

The city of Goldsboro ranked 10th on a state Department of Transportation list of 83 North Carolina cities with populations of 10,000 or more in vehicle crashes in 2012 -- up 17 slots from 2009.

Brad Robinson, of the N.C. DOT traffic safety systems management unit, said the list includes both fatal and non-fatal crashes and the rankings are based on several factors.

From January 2010 through December 2012, 4,273 crashes were investigated in Goldsboro, according to DOT data.

Just 3.6 percent of those wrecks were alcohol-related.

Asheville earned first place with 12,626 wrecks, while the city with the highest actual number of crashes over the three-year period was Charlotte, which came in just 36 wrecks short of 80,000.

Robinson's office compiles the data and produces the rankings each year.

"There are several determining factors, otherwise you would obviously have the bigger cities (like Charlotte) because they have more people and more crashes," Robinson said.

Some of the factors included in the ranking matrix are the total number of crashes per population, crash severity, crashes involving registered vehicles, and other data.

Robinson said that although his office was responsible for compiling the data, he could not speculate on what might have lead to Goldsboro's leap from 27th to No. 10 on the list.

"You don't want to be (going up) in the rankings, I can tell you that," he said.

Maj. Mike West of the Goldsboro Police Department said that his department recorded 2,036 traffic accidents in 2012 alone.

So far in 2013, there have been 1,096 documented wrecks in the city.

The reason for the slight increase halfway through this year in relation to last year's numbers is difficult to pinpoint, but might have something to do with the excessive amount of rainfall, West said.

"When it rains, driving seems to get worse," he said.

West said he would have to look at a month-to-month breakdown of wreck reports and analyze more data before he could say for sure if there were any areas of concern his department could or might need to address, such as added construction or other factors.

N.C. State Highway Patrol public information officer Jeff Gordon said the Highway Patrol investigated a total of 1,730 accidents in Wayne County in 2012, only 12 of them fatal.

The total number of wrecks in the county has increased annually by an average of about 75 accidents each year, but the number of fatalities is down since 2010 when that number reached 20.

"Speed is almost always a factor," Gordon said.

He reminded drivers that posted speed limits are not suggestions but rather the maximum speed allowable by law.

In addition to increased speed, Gordon cautioned against reckless and inattentive driving and driving while intoxicated.

All law enforcement agencies advocate and enforce the use of seat belts and recommend designated drivers.

As for weather, regardless of the posted speed limit, drivers should adjust to the conditions of the road, Gordon said.

"Drive within your capabilities for the (weather conditions) and the vehicle you are driving."