The number of traffic-related fatalities in Winston-Salem has risen by nearly 25% from August of last year.

A recent accident claimed the life of a pedestrian, who was fatally struck by a vehicle traveling west on Akron Drive in Winston-Salem. It was the 21st traffic-related death this year compared to 15 during the same period last year.

The circumstances surrounding these fatalities fall into a few categories: speed-related accidents; those involving drugs or alcohol; and a few due to distracted driving.

Director of Transportation Jeff Fansler says all three dangerous driving patterns have been on the rise since COVID, and they’ve remained the leading contributors to elevated fatality numbers in each of the past three years. He says to address these trends, he and his team are constantly monitoring accident data.

"Safety and crash analyses is a day-to-day effort for our department and in coordination with the North Carolina Department of Transportation for improvements to be included into any of the roadway projects along the corridors of our city," he says.

Fansler says once negative patterns have been identified, DOT attempts to mitigate them through development and spot improvements. He uses the recently completed one-way traffic project downtown as an example of progress, where he says average speeds appear to be slowing. The city is also earmarking funding from the Governor’s Highway Safety Program to prioritize limiting impaired driving.

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