WINSTON-SALEM/GREENSBORO, N.C. — As the holidays get closer, officers in the Triad are anticipating more traffic and, unfortunately, more traffic accidents.
Both Winston-Salem and Greensboro Police Departments have reported more fatal traffic accidents this year than in 2011.
“We have as many fatalities on the highways as we do within city streets,” explained Officer A.D. Reed with Greensboro P.D. “There’s often no rhyme or reason and they can happen any time of the day or night.”
Greensboro has had 21 fatal accidents in 2012 compared to 14 in 2011 and 28 in 2010.
Winston-Salem has had 23 fatal accidents in 2012 compared to 19 in 2011 and 15 in 2010.
“It’s unnerving to see that many,” admitted Winston-Salem Cpl. Rhoneek Readus.
“We can actually do some things to prevent it, like speed enforcement and DWI enforcement. That helps drastically cut down the number of crashes we get.”
Cpl. Readus also pointed out that some deaths that occur during traffic accidents are actually listed as “homicides” or “death investigations.”
He said that means the number of traffic-related deaths is even higher in reality.
While weather and distracted driving can play a role, both officers said alcohol was involved in nearly half of fatal accidents this year.
“This year alone, out of the 23 fatal crashes we’ve had, half of those have involved alcohol,” said Cpl. Readus.
“We’ve also seen an increase this year with the alcohol-related,” added Officer Reed.
“We’re at 42% of the fatalities in the city this year that have been alcohol related.”
They say during the holidays, accident numbers start to spike as people come and go from visiting family or drinking at holiday parties.
Cpl. Readus advises drivers to be patient and pay attention to the road and other drivers.
“If you see an aggressive driver,” he insisted, “Or someone weaving on the side of the road, or in and out of lane of travel, definitely call us. Dial 9-1-1 because that’s an emergency. We need to get that taken care of so that everybody can be safe, especially during the holiday season.”
He said a lapse in judgment now can mean a lifetime of consequences down the road.