Yadkin County listed on most dangerous roads list

Lindsay CravenStaff Writer

August 22, 2012

Yadkin County has found itself listed on AAA Carolinas analysis of the most dangerous roads in the state.

Yadkin County roads rank third on the top counties for fatal crashes with tractor trailers.

Yadkin is preceded by Hyde and Richmond Counties and is listed before Ashe and North Hampton Counties.

"We don’t get specific details on particular roads in the counties," said Angela Vogel Daley, PR Manager for AAA. "We did find that rural counties were more dangerous than more urban or suburban areas. That’s something that we’ve found over the past three years."

According to the report, the top five counties combined produced 61 fatal crashes, which is 5.4 percent of the state’s total fatal crashes. Those counties only carried 2 percent of the state’s vehicle miles traveled.

The top five counties listed for traffic deaths per mile traveled were Clay, Graham, Hyde, Robeson and Hertford counties.

"The roads in rural counties tend to be more narrow, they aren’t marked as well, the shoulders are either not existent or are very low and there’s not as much police presence as there are in more urban areas," Daley said. "That’s why we tend to see more crashes occur on more rural roads."

Yadkin County only landed on the list for fatal crashes with tractor trailers, a result that surprises Sargent Keller with the North Carolina Highway Patrol.

"They must be basing these results off of strictly rural counties because there were only two casualties involving a tractor trailer in 2011," Keller said.

Keller said that the two incidents that occurred last year were not the direct fault of a tractor trailer driver. Keller said once incident took place on U.S. Highway 421 southbound when a car drove through the median, tore down the traffic cables in the median and ran head-on into a tractor trailer.

The second incident involved a suicide of a tractor trailer driver but did not involve another vehicle, Keller said.

Keller says that there have been no fatalities involving tractor trailers so far in 2012 and there was only one reported in 2010 when a tractor trailer driver ran off Interstate 77 due to medical reasons.

Keller said that no fatalities were reported in 2009, but Daley notes that Yadkin County was listed fifth on the list of best chance of being injured in a tractor trailer crash.

The report’s numbers show that Yadkin County had a total of 761 crashes in 2011 ranking it at 86 of 100 counties; only five of those crashes were fatal. There were 511 crashes that resulted in property damage only and 245 crashes that resulted in injuries

Daley says that the results of this report often lead to changes in county laws or road quality.

"We do get a good amount of people paying attention to the reports," Daley said. "Once you see some of the same counties appear on the lists year after year you get the local government taking notice and the police pay more attention. Those people know which intersections or which roads are the most dangerous and they may tend to target those areas."

According to the report total number of traffic fatalities in North Carolina dropped 8 percent from 1,328 in 2010 to 1,217 last year.

"It is gratifying to see the decrease in fatalities but dismaying to note that more than three people still die every day on North Carolina roads," said David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas.

Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at lcraven@heartlandpublications.com.