The number of fatal accidents in Chautauqua County is at an astounding number for this time of the year. With more than half of the year left, there have been 12 total fatalities, including three within three days recently.
Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph Gerace says this number is "very troubling."
"One fatal accident is too many," Gerace said.
OBSERVER file photo
Statistics have shown in 70 to 80 percent of motorcycle accidents the riders have received no formalized training.
Last year, the number of fatal accidents was 17 for the county compared to eight fatal accidents in 2010. According to Gerace, the investigation in to the accident tries to find common denominators between fatal accidents.
"When you study motor vehicle fatalities, you look for common denominators," Gerace said. "You might find a couple denominators."
Gerace said he has seen a decrease in alcohol related incidents but distracted driving is increasing.
"There's a massive reduction of alcohol related accidents. They're lesser of a problem but distracted driving is becoming higher (of a problem)," he said.
Distracted driving includes using a cell phone, GPS or any other electronic device as well as anything that takes your eyes away from the road.
"People try to multi-task way too much," Gerace said.
He cited examples of eating, changing radio stations or disciplining children in the back seat as examples of distracted driving.
Since the warmer weather is coming, more tourists are coming into the area and motorists are wanting to travel more.
"People drive faster when the weather is good and there's also more driving," Gerace said.
He offered safety tips for all motorists including always wear your seat belt, don't drink and drive, think safely while driving and drive defensively.
To see complete accident statistics for Chautauqua County, visit www.safeny.ny.gov/10data/chautauqua-10.pdf.
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