Report ranks Macon among America’s worst for deadly car crashes. What’s the cause?

Traffic moves through the intersection of Pio Nono Avenue, Broadway, Houston Avenue and Houston Road, where the Georgia Department of Transportation believes a roundabout would improve safety. (Photo Courtesy of Wayne Crenshaw)

Credit: Wayne Crenshaw

Credit: Wayne Crenshaw

Traffic moves through the intersection of Pio Nono Avenue, Broadway, Houston Avenue and Houston Road, where the Georgia Department of Transportation believes a roundabout would improve safety. (Photo Courtesy of Wayne Crenshaw)

Macon is one of the United States’ worst cities for fatal car crashes, according to a recent report that analyzed data from 2022.

A ConsumerAffairs analysis ranked 195 U.S. cities for the most fatal car crashes per 100,000 people, and Macon, Georgia ranked fourth with 46 deadly crashes in 2022. That came out to 29.45 per 100,000 people, which was more than double the national average of 11.77.

The ConsumerAffairs report contains deadly and non-deadly accident data for cars, light trucks, sport utility vehicles and vans. Each city and state were ranked by the number of car crashes per 100,000 people in the defined area.

Weston Stroud, the Macon-Bibb County safety traffic manager, said Macon’s number of fatal crashes on any given year is likely due to a combination of its central location in Georgia and multiple highways crossing the river through the city.

He also explained that the interstate brings thousands of people through the area every day with several large state highways running through other areas of the city. In addition, Stroud emphasized a need for better pedestrian infrastructure.

Have Macon fatal crashes reduced since 2022?

Stroud pointed out Bibb County’s number of deadly incidents seems to be improving.

“Our number in 2022, though, reflected a trend where, nationally, fatalities rose in the four years leading up to it,” he said. “Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety administration released its latest projections for traffic fatalities in 2023, estimating more miles driven and lower fatality rates compared to 2022.”

Data from the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety shows several Georgia counties with bigger populations than Macon’s roughly 160,000 residents had more fatal crashes. That included Fulton, Dekalb, Cobb, Gwinnett and Clayton counties.

Regardless, Stroud said the county is working closely with the Georgia Department Of Transportation to look at areas where crashes occur regularly.

“We are adding in more infrastructure to slow traffic and make roads safer, including reducing speed limits in areas, adding school zone speed enforcement cameras, building roundabouts, adding sidewalks, adding speed bumps and four-way stops, posting speed notification signs, and more,” he said.

Stroud said the county is using a new software system, Urban SDK, which can instantly check how many vehicles are traveling on all roads in Macon and how fast they’re going.

Urban SDK allows county officials to quickly respond to public speeding complaints, prioritize street safety and measure the effectiveness of traffic-calming measures, according to the company website.

“This helps with our decision-making process and serves as a tool for us to educate the community,” Stroud said. “We can send reports from the software out to citizens to show how many or how fast vehicles are traveling on a road segment.”

Macon’s Pedestrian Safety Review Board is allocated $500,000 a year to go towards pedestrian safety initiatives and traffic calming projects, according to Stroud, which formalizes the process to request traffic calming projects and safety plans.

Memphis, Tennessee was ranked as the place with the highest rate of deadly car crashes in the US, according to the study. Other cities in the top 10 included Daytona Beach, Florida; Ocala, Florida; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Albany, Georgia; Jackson, Mississippi; Birmingham, Alabama; Tucson, Arizona and St. Louis, Missouri.

“This is something Macon-Bibb and its partners are taking very seriously, focusing a great deal of study and resources to make the roads safer for all who use them,” Stroud said.

Credit: The Telegraph

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Credit: The Telegraph


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