Traffic fatalities down slightly locally

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, January 9, 2019

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The number of traffic fatalities was down slightly in Escambia County in 2018, but the number of crashes was up nearly 70.

Derek Gessner, PIO for the Alabama State Troopers for Escambia, Conecuh and Monroe counties, said that there were 501 crashes and 10 fatalities in the county.

Conecuh County was up 30 crashes to 312 and down on fatality to four.

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In Monroe county there were 153 crashes, down two from 2017. Monroe also had an increase of one fatality at five.

Comparatively, there were eight in 2016 in Escambia County and Conecuh County, respectively, and seven in Monroe.

However, there were 847 crashes in 2016 in Escambia County; 404 in Conecuh and 381 in Monroe.

Gessner said luck was the reason for the decline, but he also reported that there would be an additional trooper assigned to the area in the next three months.

A study by the University of Alabama found that the primary reasons traffic-related deaths were speed, safety belts, distracted driving and even pedestrian at fault.

The study, which used data from 2016, showed that there were more crashes with impact speeds faster than 50 mph.

The study also showed that at least half of the fatalities due to no restraints could have been reduced if seat belts were used.

Distracted driving was another issue, according to the study, which accredited 16 percent of fatal crashes to be caused by some form of distracted driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that 94 percent of crashes are caused by human error. With that in mind, traffic safety professionals at CAPS make the following strong recommendations:

Buckle up every time you get in a vehicle.

Put aside all distractions, look ahead and concentrate on constantly moving to safer situations as you drive.

Do not even think about driving if you have had any alcohol or disabling drugs, including marijuana.

Put up the cell phone, and don’t text while driving or walking near roadways, even if they do not seem to be busy.