Since 2002, 180 people have lost their lives in Forsyth County crashes, and last year alone 23 people were killed on the county’s roadways. These high numbers are leading people to wonder what factors contribute to Forsyth County road fatalities.
Forsyth County Sherriff’s Sgt. Chris Shelton, with the traffic specialist unit, said that there are many factors contributing to these roadway fatalities. Many of the traffic fatalities over the previous years were due to speeding on low-speed rural roads; however, additional factors that played a part in the high numbers of fatalities include:
- Alcohol – Driving under the influence.
- Distracted driving – From cell phones, GPS devices, iPads, and texting, along with other distractions like putting on makeup or reading the newspaper.
- Pedestrians – Safety concerns.
Four of the 23 fatalities last year were pedestrians, which is “the highest number of pedestrians we’ve had in the last 10 years. Typically, we don’t see four pedestrian deaths in a year,” said Shelton. Of the we fatal accidents, he continued on to say, “we can’t pinpoint one reason, like they were all DUI-related or they were all distracted drivers.”
One very serious location where many of these deadly accidents took place is Dawsonville Highway, or Hwy. 53, which is a highly traveled road. Although this is not a heavily congested road, it is a road were people speed and where large trucks travel. “Anytime you have a lot of 18-wheeler traffic, you increase the risks of something to occur,” said Shelton.
The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office is hoping that their safety messages and awareness programs in schools and through community outreach will help drivers become more aware of their surroundings. They encourage all motorists to become defensive drivers to increase their chances of being able to avoid a collision.