Highway Patrol troopers, NCDOT gather to review fatal accidents, determine ways to prevent them

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Dozens of Highway Patrol officers are working to make sure drivers stay protected behind the wheel by hosting a fatal review meeting.

Troopers from several different counties spent the Tuesday morning in Washington learning more about fatal accidents and how to try and prevent them.

Trooper Doug Coley said the Department of Transportation also attends the quarterly meetings, “We look at the cell phones. We look at the vehicles. We look at the intersection to see if there could possibly be a stop sign put in place or, maybe, a stop light that may help or lowering the speed limit.”

Coley said, in the past six months, there have been 45 fatalities in 20 counties like Lenoir, Pitt, and Craven. He added there have been more than nine fatal accidents since April that were left of center and speed or distracted driving is most likely to blame.

Coley said texting and driving is a distraction, but it isn’t only one. He said eating food and listening to the radio and talking with friends also causes accidents.

Troopers were able to go back through their investigations to look at pictures to determine why and how the accident occurred.

The Department of Transportation also attended the meetings to see if changes need to be made to the roads.

“We go beyond the scene to look further into it,” said a DOT representative. “There may be something that occurred at an intersection that we might be able to change and add a stoplight, reducing a speed at a certain limit or stretch of roadways or possibly a stop sign at an intersection.”

Coley said the best advice is to slow down and limit distractions in the car.

The next fatal review meeting will be in September.

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