AAA Carolina's report says crashes most likely in Pitt County

PITT COUNTY - AAA Carolina's 2011 report said Pitt County has the highest likelihood of car crashes in the state. This is the fourth time the county has topped the list for chances of high collisions.

Trooper Jeff Collins with North Carolina Highway Patrol said distracted driving may be to blame for the high rate of collisions.

"It's just as dangerous as an impaired driver," Collins said.

It's as easy as changing the radio station or sending a quick text.

"At the speeds people are traveling, highway speeds of 60 miles an hour, you're running 88 feet per second. So, only taking your eyes off the road for that one second you cover a lot of ground pretty quickly and a lot of bad things can happen," Collins said.

So why is Pitt County the worst place in our area for accidents?  Troopers said new drivers on the road or people driving in unfamiliar areas contribute to the high rate.

"Sometimes it's difficult to tell between the texting and the talking. For adults, it's not illegal to talk even though it's not a good idea. Texting is illegal for everyone," Collins said.

A sign like "U TEXT. U DRIVE. U DIE." that can be seen at the corner of 14th Street and Charles Boulevard in Greenville is one way authorities are trying to get drivers to think about what could happen if they text while driving.  Despite the report's rank, AAA Carolina's public relations manager Angela Daley said the number of crashes in Pitt County has gone down.

"Law enforcement has been helping with their target areas and that kinda accounts for the improvements," Daley said.

In 2010, there were more than 4,800 crashes. In 2011, the number had dropped to 4,288 crashes.

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