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Fayetteville Group Figures Up Total Cost of Traffic Accidents

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FAYETTEVILLE — Getting into a traffic accident can be much more expensive than you think. Now, one group is trying to come up with exact figures on how much collisions cost the community.

Getting into a car accident is not cheap, even if it is just a fender bender. Your insurance may pay for the damages, but there are more costs involved.

"When you understand the depth of the problem and how costly it is, you're more likely to be willing to change your behavior to prevent the problem," said Sgt. Wesley Waters of the Fayetteville Police Department.

Waters and a group of community leaders are trying to prevent accidents by creating a safe communities program.

The program is sponsored by theNational Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Organizers are coming up with information on who is getting into accidents and where.

They are also trying to put a cost on collisions in Cumberland County. They consider everything from medical expenses to the amount of hours lost on the job.

Police are comparing accidents in the city to illnesses. They don't want to just treat them, but cure them.

They hope to take their findings and reduce the amount of accidents through education, prevention and enforcement.

"Cost is one reason, but also to eliminate injuries. They are injuries that don't need to occur," said Juanita Stroud of theCape Fear Valley Health System.

With injuries from traffic accidents being the main reason people in Cumberland County visit the emergency room, participants hope the effort will not just prevent injuries but save lives.

The group is now in the process of applying for a grant to help them compile all the figures.

They hope to have initial numbers within a year.

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Melissa Buscher, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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