Anson County topped AAA Carolinas’ annual list of counties rated most dangerous for tractor-trailer collisions. The report, a yearly list of North Carolina’s most dangerous counties for collisions, was based on 2012 crash data and was released Wednesday.
Following Anson as most dangerous for tractor-trailer collisions were Hertford, Washington, Bladen and Duplin counties. Anson County has topped the list for tractor-trailer collisions for the past three years.
Anson also ranked fifth among counties with the best chance of being injured in a crash involving a tractor-trailer.
According to the report, fatal tractor-trailer crashes were up 13 percent from 68 in 2011 to 77 in 2012 and account for about 6 percent of all fatal crashes. Although Anson was high on the list for tractor-trailer collisions and injuries, it did not rank in the top five counties for fatal tractor-trailer crashes in 2012. Those were Tyrrell, Warren, Northampton, Polk and Montgomery.
For the past three years, the same four counties have topped the overall list of North Carolina’s most dangerous counties for collisions — Pitt, New Hanover, Person and Watauga. Pitt County has ranked as the most dangerous county in the state for the past five years. With 4,633 traffic crashes in 2012, Pitt County averages 306.7 crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled - 50 percent higher than the state average of 204.7. New Hanover County averages 286.8 crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, Person County averages 266.6 and Watauga County averages 259.3. Union County, which ranked fifth for collisions, didn’t appear on the list last year.
AAA Carolinas bases its annual ranking of the most dangerous counties on the likelihood of a certain type of crash - fatal, injurious, motorcycle, tractor-trailer, total - based on vehicle miles traveled.
“Consistently high rankings for being one of the most dangerous counties in the state should be a wake-up call for better traffic enforcement or road design,” David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas, said in a press release.
Nationally, rural roads account for two-thirds of fatal crashes. “In addition to more curves, insufficient road markings and limited police presence, rural roads are prone to more single-vehicle accidents, particularly those involving alcohol,” said Parsons.
The deadliest county with the highest total number of fatal crashes was Mecklenburg, with 69 fatal crashes, up from 67 in 2011. Wake had 61, Cumberland 50, Robeson 47 and Guilford 39. Although Mecklenburg, Wake, Cumberland and Guilford counties are metropolitan areas, rural Robeson County includes heavily traveled I-95 and U.S. 74.
The total number of traffic fatalities in North Carolina increased 4 percent from 1,217 in 2011 to 1,270 in 2012. This number had been dropping steadily over the past few years (1,452 in 2008, 1,344 in 2009, 1,328 in 2010, 1,217 in 2011) before increasing in 2012.