By the numbers
There have been 51 deaths on Forsyth County roads over the past three years. According to sheriff’s office statistics, the fatalities involved the following factors:
Not wearing seat belt
• 2012 — 6 of 22
• 2011 — 5 of 17
• 2010 — 4 of 12
Weather (fog or rain)
• 2012 — 5 of 22
• 2011 — 3 of 17
• 2010 — 1 of 12
Drugs or alcohol
• 2012 — 5 of 22
• 2011 — 4 of 17
• 2010 — 5 of 12
Source: Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office
A woman who died in a single-vehicle wreck over the weekend in northeast Forsyth was the 22ndtraffic fatality in Forsyth County this year.
That number has continued to rise over the past several years, said Sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Shelton.
According to Shelton, there were 17 fatalities in 2011 and 12 two years ago. And contrary to popular belief, most did not involve speeding on Ga. 400.
In fact, Shelton said there has been just one fatality this year on Ga. 400 in Forsyth, with three last year and none in 2010.
“Everybody talks about the problems with Ga. 400, however we most of the time only have minor crashes [there],” Shelton said. “Most of your fatalities are due to high speeds on low-speed or rural roads.”
In the wreck early Saturday, authorities said 44-year-old Kathryn J. Dodd of Alpharetta was found dead in a wooded embankment off Chattahoochee Road.
Dodd, who was not wearing a seat belt, had been thrown from the 2005 Nissan Maxima she was driving after it veered off the road and struck a tree.
Among the most dangerous local corridors this year has been Hwy. 53, also known as Dawsonville Highway, where Shelton noted four motorists have died, “all within a mile of each other.”
“Most of these are all crossovers on Hwy. 53,” he said. “Hwy. 53 is an area that we’ve concentrated patrols on quite regularly just because of the fatalities … in hopes that if they see law enforcement officers out there, they’ll be more aware of their surroundings and drive more cautiously.”
While traffic along busy routes may cause stress and minor fender-benders, the low speeds keep those wrecks from becoming worse.
Among the contributing factors to fatal wrecks that Shelton cited are alcohol, drugs, high speeds and not paying attention.
“With cell phones, GPSs, laptops and iPads and everything else they’ve got going on in the car, we’ve seen an increase in that — the distracted driver,” Shelton said. “The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is focusing heavily on distracted drivers.”
With Christmas and the new year fast approaching, Shelton said sheriff’s deputies are focusing on traffic campaigns starting this week.
“It will run through after the first week in January,” he said. “It’s when we do heavy DUI enforcement, seatbelt use and distracted driver road checks.”
With winter weather approaching, Shelton urged motorists, to “use extra caution when driving in the rain because you have no idea if it’s turned to ice and slow down to give yourself more reaction time.”