Johnston County Ranks High Statewide In Traffic-Related Fatalities

Posted June 6, 2005 4:51 a.m. EDT

— Johnston County is one of the fastest growing counties in North Carolina, but troopers say they work 300 wrecks a month in the area.

"Johnston County is one of the busiest counties that we have in North Carolina traffic-wise, and if you look at fatalities, it typically is in the top five in fatality rankings when you look at the counties," said Lt. Everett Clendenin, of the state Highway Patrol.

The patrol said since 2000, 183 people have died on Johnston County roads, which ranks the county third in the state for crash fatalities.

"I just wouldn't have thought that Johnston County would've been up among, you know, the top ones," driver Beckie Petit said.

"I hate to hear it, but it doesn't surprise me. It's crazy out there sometimes," driver Terry Hodges said.

In Johnston County, there are miles of rural roads and some of the busiest miles of interstate highway in North Carolina.

"Our speeds have increased over the years and we're traveling now on Interstate 95 at speeds of 70 miles per hour that was designed for traffic in the 1960s and 1970s," Clendenin said.

Massive population growth also contributes to the increase in crashes. The patrol said while the problem is complex, the solution is simple.

"If we get people to slow down, we'll see a reduction in those traffic fatalities," Clendenin said.

Twenty-three troopers are stationed in Johnston County. The patrol said it is evaluating a possible increase in manpower.