Albany -- Even though there are more cars on Dougherty County roads than ever before, the number of crashes is down. So were the number of people hurt in crashes.
The best news, the number of people killed on Dougherty County roads in 2004 is down by 45 percent over last year.
A car crash Tuesday afternoon sent four people to the hospital. Nineteen-year-old Erica Adams was the most seriously injured with a fractured pelvis. She was wearing a seat belt. Albany Safe Communities Coordinator Michelle DeMott said "That's an injury that could have been a fatality had that person not been buckled."
There are more cars on Dougherty County roads than ever, logging more miles. But in 2004 the number of crashes, people injured, and most important traffic fatalities were all lower than in 2003.
Two years ago, there were 20 people killed in traffic crashes in Dougherty County. DeMott says Police addressing problem areas helped cut the number of dead to 11 in 2004.
DeMott said "Where we are having right angle crashes. Where we are having crashes at high rates of speed. Where we are having problems so they can go out and immediately address those problems."
Technology has made cars safer. Since 2001 Albany Safe Communities has run a number of awareness campaigns urging drivers to slow down, wear their seat belts, and not drink and drive. The statistics show it is paying off. DeMott said "Hopefully we're raising that awareness and getting folks to think a little bit more when they are behind the wheel."
There have been at least 4 traffic fatalities in Dougherty County so far in 2005, so the statistics may not improve this year. But law enforcement says traffic will smoother, if everyone practices safer driving habits.
The number of Driving under the influence crashes in Dougherty County were down 21 percent last year. That's 31 percent lower than in 2002.
Tougher laws and court sentences are credited with having less people drinking and driving in Dougherty County.