Feel safer when you drive

Mar. 22, 2013 @ 06:08 AM

Troopers of the North Carolina Highway Patrol (NCHP) have one mission: to provide safe and efficient transportation on the highways and roads, as far away as the Outer Banks and as close as Rutherford County.

“We want to make the Rutherford County roads a little more safe and friendly for the motorists around here,” said NCHP First Sgt. J.C. McClelland.

Highway patrol officers in District 2 Troop G (G2) have done just that, according to statewide investigated collisions statistics and trends for 2012.

Troop G is a two-county district including Rutherford and McDowell counties.

“Any time we’re trending in a right direction, that’s a good thing,” McClelland said.

Among significant trends are a decrease in injury collisions and traffic fatalities since the past year.

The number of injury collisions for the G2 district has dropped almost 11 percent while traffic fatalities have dropped by 13 percent.

The number of teen fatalities during the past year has decreased as well.

“There were no teen fatalities across this district,” explained McClelland. “This is absolutely amazing for a two-county district.”

Additional trends show a decrease in the amount of alcohol-related collisions, alcohol-related fatalities and speed-related collisions.

Alcohol-related collisions have decreased nearly 25 percent over the past three years and alcohol-related fatalities are down 75 percent since the past year.

Speed-related collisions dropped 26 percent over the past three years and there was a significant decrease in incidents involving speeding in excess of 25 mph.

These positive driving trends are a result of the increase in education, enforcement and deterrents.

The NCHP increased education efforts by 67 percent with more safety instruction presentations promoting highway safety.

Troopers provided more presentations to schools including the “Driving While Texting” program and Public Safety DVDs highlighting teenage driver safety.

“It’s about education, changing our approach and being just a little bit more proactive with education,” McClelland said. “Education has paid off. Young drivers are more educated than they were years ago. They are receiving more education experience and driving experience before they are driving.”

To promote safe roads and safe driving, the NCHP also increased enforcement through campaigns like “Smoke in the Valley,” “Click It or Ticket,” “Booze It & Lose It” and multi-agency checkpoints.

Enforcement has led to a 34 percent increase in warning tickets and a 16 percent increase in DWI arrests.

According to McClelland, these increases are a good sign because they reflect fewer reckless and impaired drivers on the road.

The NCHP continues to increase trooper presence during peak traffic times and in high crash corridors as a deterrent to drivers.

On US 74 and US 221 the large presence of law enforcement is causing speeds to decrease.

Increased trooper presence is also found off the roads.

“There are more troopers in schools, churches, on the radio and in newspapers than you’ve seen in the past who are communicating our safety message,” mentioned McClelland. “Driving is about attitude. We build, learn and make improvements. Education is good for all of us.”