Local News

Deadly Accidents

Posted September 4, 2003

— The only survivor of a terrible head-on collision in Harnett County is improving. Doctors upgraded 91-year old Eular McGregor to serious condition Wednesday.

Three people traveling with McGregor died when another car crossed the median and hit her car. It happened Tuesday on Highway 210 south of Lillington. Both drivers were killed.

That accident brought to 19 the number of people killed on North Carolina roads since Friday.

Day after day, emergency workers respond to crashes that often end up taking lives. North Carolina is one of the worst states in the country for deadly wrecks, ranking fifth.

When it comes to the total number of people who die in car crashes, North Carolina ranks behind California, Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania -- states that are much more populated. North Carolina even outnumbers those states similar in population size and states on the busy I-95 corridor.

Wednesday, WRAL talked to someone who helped explain why this is.

Eric Rodgman\2 ; 23 to 27 #UNC Highway Safety Researc

The reasons were clear why people died in crashes the last few days. Speed took a life in this crash. Somebody fell asleep in another, and a car crossed over the center line in the wreck that injured McGregor on a rural highway in Harnett County.

Eric Rodgman has spent the last 29 years researching highway safety and fatal accidents. He looks at the causes and tries to figure out why more people are killed in car wrecks in North Carolina than most other states.

Rodgman conducts research for the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He says the state has a lot of rural highways, which is one factor in fatal accidents. The state also has a high number of major highways and on-going construction projects.

For Sgt. Everett Clendenin of the Highway Patrol, those issues are on top of other factors like aggresssive driving that every state's Highway Patrol deals with.

The state is stuck trying to figure out what to do about it. So it took the people who run the numbers, enforce the speed and build the roads and brought them together.

""RODGMAN: BECAUSE THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO CAN MAKE THE DECISION ABOUT WHERE THE MONEY WILL BE SPENT."" ""CLENDENIN: WE CAN'T JUST TURN OUR BACKS SAY NOTHING WE CAN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.""

Now this joining together of forces is called an Executive Committee for Highway Safety. David they talk about programs like "click it or ticket."

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