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Fatal crashes here the lowest in eight years

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Georgia State Patrol Reports show fatal crashes in Pickens County were down 77 percent in 2018, the lowest number recorded in the last eight years. 

According to GSP statistics, there were nine fatalities in 2017 and just two county-wide in 2018. 

GSP handles all vehicle fatalities in Pickens County. 

GSP Post #28 Commander Tim Nichols said it is difficult to determine the reason of the decrease, and noted it is too early to tell the impact of Georgia’s new hands-free driving law, which went into effect on July 1.  

“Ninety percent of it could be luck,” he said.  

The first of those fatal accidents occurred in May. It was a single-vehicle incident where the driver lost control in a curve and crashed into an embankment. The second was the Sunday after Thanksgiving in Talking Rock near Antioch Church Road and Highway 136 intersection – a truck turned in front of a motorcycle rider, who was killed in the accident. 

In total, there were 1,071 crashes in Pickens County in 2018. This is down just marginally, 0.8 percent, from the 1,080 crashes in 2017. 

Of the 1,071 crashes last year, there were 439 injuries, up by nine percent from the 401 injuries in 2017.

According to the Georgia Office of Highway Safety, for 2018 fatal crashes are down six percent statewide from the 1,549 in 2017.

Nichols said he was surprised at the low rate of drivers under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs during these crashes – just 1.2 percent. 

“It was surprisingly low to me,” Nichols said. 

Other highlights of Pickens’ 2018 crash statistics as provided by Georgia State Patrol: 

•Approximately 30 percent of the crashes involved a single vehicle.

•Major contributing factors of the crashes were following too closely (31 percent) and failing to yield to right of way (26 percent). 

•October had the most crashes with 115. 

•Just over 17 percent of all crashes occurred on a Friday.  

•Peak crash times were at 7 a.m. and between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. 

•Almost half (49.7 percent) of total crashes occurred on clear days, meaning weather or limited visibility was not a contributing factor. 

•Drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 were involved in 19 percent of crashes, the highest of the age brackets. Drivers between 25 and 34 were involved in 17 percent of crashes. Drivers over 65 were involved in 16 percent.