Cost of car wrecks is staggering - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Cost of car wrecks is staggering

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October 4, 2005

Albany-- There's a car wreck every two and a half hours in Dougherty County. And someone is killed in a wreck every 33 days. There are more cars on the roads and they're traveling more miles.

And as a result, the cost of car crashes to the community has skyrocketed to nearly $48 million a year.

An estimated 26,000 cars drive through the intersection of North Slappey and Palmyra Road everyday. That means roughly one quarter the population of Dougherty County is driving through this one intersection daily. As the traffic flow increases, so the chance of crashes, and deaths.

Albany Safe Communities Coordinator Michele DeMott says, "People dying at the rate people die in traffic crashes would be considered an epidemic."

The Governor's Office of Highway Safety reports that Dougherty County on average has a traffic fatality every 33 days, a car crash injury every 5 hours, and a crash every 2.4 hours.

National Transportation Department figures estimate each fatality costs the community more than $1 million in combined costs.

DeMott said "For vehicle premium insurance, for lost work time, for lost income to a family. So the costs mount very quickly."

The estimated cost for a visible injury from a crash is $55,000. Using this formula, traffic crashes cost Dougherty County $48.5 million last year. Obviously cutting down the number of crashes can be a big savings to the community, and would not be hard to do.

DeMott said " Watch where you are going. Slow down. Wear your safety belt in the event of a crash."

Police say drivers slowing down would greatly cut the number of traffic crashes. Albany Safe Communities has received a grant of more than sixty thousand dollars from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, to continue their traffic safety campaign for the year 2006.

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