Local News

January 24, 2014

The most dangerous roads

The Dalton Police Department’s Traffic Enforcement Unit (TEU) reported 112 crashes on city roadways in December 2013, with 34 crashes causing injuries.

The most dangerous stretch of road in Dalton was Walnut Avenue with 21 crashes between the east and west sides of town. Thornton Avenue and Chattanooga Road were also problem areas for the TEU with 12 and nine total crashes respectively. There were also five or more crashes reported on Glenwood Avenue, the North Dalton Bypass and Frederick Street.

Analysis of crash data by the TEU found that Mondays and Tuesdays brought the most crashes during December. The most common times for crashes to be reported were between 12:01 p.m. and 2 p.m. and between 6:01 a.m. and 8 a.m. which coincides with the morning and lunch commutes for most people who live and work in town.

The TEU analysis also compiled a breakdown of the most common factors involved with causing crashes in Dalton:

1. Following too closely: This violation contributed to 46 of the 112 crashes reported in December and 17 of the 34 crashes involving injury. The majority of rear-end collisions are attributed to this violation.

2. Distracted/inattentive driving: This accounted for eight of the reported crashes and eight of the reported injury crashes in December. Under Georgia law, distracted driving is not just texting while driving or talking on a cellphone. Anything that distracts a person from focusing on the task of driving can be a problem. Eating while driving, loud music/adjusting the stereo, dealing with unruly children in the vehicle and focusing on GPS devices are some other common examples. Operating a vehicle while distracted by any factor is against Georgia law.

3. Speed-related violations: Excessive speed — whether driving above the speed limit or simply driving too fast for road conditions such as wet or curvy roads — are other recurring contributors to crashes in Dalton. The police ruled speed a factor in six crashes in December.

4. Driving while under the influence of alcohol/drugs (DUI): Fortunately, there were no DUI crashes in Dalton in December. DUIs remain a problem on Dalton roads, however. In every other month of 2013 there were one to seven DUI-related crashes in Dalton. The police made 25 DUI arrests in December.

The Traffic Enforcement Unit has a goal of reducing the number of crashes and injury crashes in Dalton through not just enforcement, such as issuing tickets and arresting DUI drivers, but also through education. This year, the TEU will be publishing information on crash data and problem roadways in area media along with information on how individuals can be safer drivers.

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