Possibly because there are no working bathrooms in the county annex building, the Liberty County Commission held an usually short meeting Tuesday.
The annex is one of the downtown buildings affected by work on the city water tank that supplies the area of downtown Hinesville. The closure of annex bathrooms started last week.
There was no old business to be dealt with Tuesday and a report on accident trends was the sole item of new business. Nils Gustavson, an engineer with the Hinesville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, presented the statistical report.
The Georgia Electronic Accident Reporting System provides data that HAMPO used for the report. The data covers 2012-2016 and is averaged and is reported per 100,000 in population.
Liberty County’s fatalities per crash rate, 11.9, is slightly below the state average of 12.0. Long County’s rate is higher, 12.9.
Gustavson pointed out that the GEARS report is useful for seeing trends in automobile accidents and is not correct in every detail. Nationally 25 percent of accidents are not reported, of those filed 10 percent have errors and are not input, he said.
Gustavson noted two types of accidents in which local figures are significantly higher than the state average. Both Liberty and Long counties have high rates of fatalities in single vehicle crashes and what are described as roadway departure crashes (running off the road.)
Deaths in single vehicle accidents are 7.5 percent in Liberty; the state average is 1.4 percent. Long County deaths in single vehicle accidents occur at a rate of 6.9.
In Long County deaths in roadway departure accidents are 9.2 percent, compared to a state average of 1.4. Liberty’s average is 7.8.
There are some bright spots in the local accident figures. Across Georgia fatal accidents involving large trucks occur at a rate of 6.1 percent. In Liberty the rate is 1.0 and in Long 2.4.
Local statistics for fatalities involving speeding are also better than the state average: Liberty County 1.9 and Long County 2.3 compared to a state average of 4.6.
Other information reported by GEARS includes a 2017 intersection crash index. The intersection of state Highway 119 and E.G. Miles Parkway is at the top of the list of dangerous intersections although no fatalities are reported there. Another E.G. Miles Parkway intersection is listed as second most dangerous, the meeting of the parkway with veterans Parkway.
County Administrator Joey Brown cautioned people who own property near the planned route of the freight route or bypass. He said some owners had been contacted by attorneys seeking to represent them in land dealings but that the exact route of the new highway has not been set so offers of legal counsel are premature.
Parker can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.