More wrecks, fewer deaths - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

More wrecks, fewer deaths

May 29, 2007

Albany -- Georgia State troopers were wrong and they're glad. Eleven fewer people were killed in Memorial Day car crashes than predicted. Even though fewer people were killed, there were more crashes than predicted. Does that mean our cars are keeping us safer? 

Even with a decline in traffic fatalities, Sgt. Scott Woodell of the Georgia State Patrol, isn't satisfied. "I pray for the day where we get zero fatalities." This holiday period, there were seven driving related deaths, one in South Georgia, but that is far fewer than the 18 predicted, even though there were actually more wrecks.

"Safer drivers, safer cars." Cars that protect the people inside and help drivers make better decisions.  Karen Smith sells luxury BMWs. "If I put you in a car, I'm not only putting you in a car, but I'm saying that I think your life is in good hands."

And the lives of others. "The car is set up so that you must put your foot on the break in order to start the car," said Smith. Hopefully keeping children from being able to start the car because their little feet can't reach the break. As soon as you put the car into reverse, the passenger side mirror goes down to show you what's behind your vehicle.

But what if you start to lose control while driving? "They even have things such as active steering which allows you the capability if you are in a stressful situation the car will help avert you back into the proper form and in your driving mode so you can not over steer into a wreck," Smith said . 

Smith says a new feature in the BMW may be the best yet, run-flat tires. "If you're in the car and the car should get a blow out, then the tire does not go flat and you won't lose control of the vehicle," said Smith. 

And then there are features that are now standards, airbags and of course, seatbelts, but you still have to do some of the thinking for yourself. "You have to click that seatbelt for it to work."

But by working with those safety features, maybe even more lives can be saved.  The Albany post of the Georgia State Patrol wrote more than 350 citations over the holiday weekend.  But folks are listening to warnings, only four people were found driving under the influence.

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