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Saturday, November 26, 2011

State patrol: Warren County's 'boring landscape' leads to high rate of I-20 traffic deaths

You've heard of the dangers of "distracted driving"? Well, apparently, the Georgia State Patrol has a new theory for the high rate of traffic deaths on Interstate 20 in Warren County: Undistracted driving.
From a story published today in the Augusta Chronicle:
DeKalb County, which has seen 13 fatal incidents in the five-year span, averages 0.77 fatalities per mile. Warren County, situated between McDuffie and Taliaferro counties, averages 0.93 fatalities per mile.
“There is a tremendous problem (in Warren County) and we’re aware of it,” said Lt. Donnie Smith, assistant commander of the Georgia State Patrol’s Troop E.
Smith attributed that problem to several theories. The “boring landscape” in the rural area tempts drivers to brave texting and talking on their cellphones.
The area is also 45 to 50 minutes between Augusta and Madison, both cities with lots of restaurants. It gives travelers just long enough to get sleepy after filling their bellies, Smith said. It’s also one of the first counties on the stretch from the state line that does not have a restraint cable dividing the highway.
“Most of our fatal accidents are crossover accidents,” he said.

For those of you who have not traveled through Warren County in some time, there is still no commercial development at any of the three interstate interchanges in the county. (The UPS facility outside Camak is not terribly far from the Camak exit, but that's more industrial development than commercial.)

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