Crashes down, fatalities up

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 22, 2007

AHOSKIE – The news is good on one front, but bad on another.

Earlier this week, First Sgt. Kenny Pitts of the North Carolina Highway Patrol’s Troop A, District 2 office in Ahoskie reported that the number of traffic collisions investigated in the local three-county area were the lowest in six years. However, the number of traffic fatalities for December was the highest over the same period of time.

First Sgt. Pitts reported his troopers n covering Bertie, Gates and Hertford counties n investigated 137 collisions in December. That number is down from previous years n 153 in 2005, 204 in 2004, 155 in 2003, 154 in 2002 and 149 in 2001.

“It is exciting to me that in December 2006, we experienced a 10.4 percent decrease in collisions from the previous year and the lowest number in six years,” First Sgt. Pitts said. “A disturbing note is that we experienced the most fatalities (four) in December of 2006 of the six years tracked.”

Pitts stated that mild weather in December played a key role in the lower number of traffic mishaps.

“We hardly had a good frost, much less any frozen precipitation as in 2004 when the numbers went out the roof,” he said.

While Pitts linked part of the declining number of crashes to a lack of harsh winter weather, he gave some of the credit to his staff.

“I really do give the credit to the troopers working the road,” Pitts stressed. “Since coming to District 2, I have asked the troopers to work harder because it is their efforts that save lives and prevent injuries.

They have answered my call and I thank them.”

Pitts dug deeper inside the most recent numbers and offered these as “food for thought” for local motorists.

He said if 2007 holds true to last year in District 2 you are more likely to be involved in a collision on Wednesday or Friday.

Also in District 2, you are more likely to receive a citation on Friday or Saturday between the hours of 2 and 6 p.m.

“We use these statistics to hopefully make the roads safer on days and hours during the day that appear to be most problematic for highway safety,” Pitts said. “As we roll into 2007, we encourage all citizens not to drink and drive and please wear safety restraints.”