First Posted: 11/4/2009
PART, the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation, has launched a campaign to educate the public in an effort to curb traffic fatalities and promote public transportation.
PART Safety Programs Manager Phil Wylie delivered posters to the Mount Airy Police Department and to the Surry County Sheriffs Office Wednesday which will be distributed throughout the area. The posters contain patches from every law enforcement agency in Surry County including one from the North Carolina Highway Patrol and traffic statistics from 2003 to 2007.
About a year ago, PART decided to create an accident safety awareness program for the 10 counties that it serves.
We started looking at the accident data for the 10 counties we serve including Surry, Stokes, Rockingham, Yadkin, Forsyth, Guilford, Alamance, Davie, Davidson and Randolph, and Surry Countys statistics stood out, Wylie said.
In those counties, there were 37,000 traffic accidents per year, 20,000 injuries and 238 fatalities per year.
Those numbers sort of caught us by surprise, Wylie said.
He said in the 2003-07 time frame, there were 94 homicides in those 10 counties per year.
So we are killing two and a half times more people in motor vehicles than we are with violent crimes.
Wylie said PART picked Surry County to kick off its campaign for a couple of reasons, but mainly because the traffic fatality rate is so high. PART will continue its campaign throughout the other counties, using Surry County as the model.
In Surry County, there are an average of 1,779 crashes per year. There are 965 injuries a year and an average of 18 fatalities per year, according to statistic from the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Wylie said just in the city limits of Mount Airy, there are 325 traffic accidents per year and 200 injuries per year.
In talking with the chief of police in Mount Airy, and I am sure he is aware, Mount Airy makes up 12 percent of the population of Surry County. Yet, theyve got 19 percent of accidents and 22 percent of the injuries that are a result of traffic accidents, Wylie said.
We wanted to heighten the awareness of the program, so we decided to make some posters that showed the numbers on here. We are trying to get those in the hands of the chief and some his people so they can get them across town, he said.
Wylie said education is key to the programs success.
One of the goals is being able to create a safe area on our highways. Our goal is to make the highways as safe as we can and to get as many people on public transportation as we can. By doing that, we hope to improve the air quality in the area and cut down the dependence on foreign oil.
For more information about PART, go to www.PARTNC.org.
Contact Mondee Tilley at [email protected] or at 719-1930.