From 1990-2001 The Chronicle showed a 60 percent increase in articles about traffic injury or its prevention in Richmond County (from 61 to 151 articles). Safe Communities Coalition staff had been concerned that the severe problems of lack of safety-oriented legislation and the resultant high death rate in South Carolina would take center stage and mislead the public into thinking that "all was well" in Richmond County.
We thank The Chronicle for this increased coverage of what is a serious health and quality of life problem.
Also, we would like to thank the Augusta government for its role in dramatically reducing traffic injuries over the past five years. Additional patrols, thanks to a 3-year federal grant, and improvement in traffic engineering are the two primary reasons for the success we see. Traffic injury rates decreased 23 percent since 1996 - from 4,222 to 3,246.
With continued traffic-engineering improvements and pro-active road patrols, we can hope for a continuance in this downward trend. That 23 percent, by the way, translates into approximately $22 million of savings per year for the people of Augusta in terms of reducing lost work, medical care and rehabilitation costs, and insurance administrative costs due to crash injuries...
Priscilla Bence, Augusta
(Editor's note: The writer is the coordinator for the Safe Communities Coalition.)