Robeson County, N.C. (WPDE) — For the past five years, Robeson County has had the worst crash rating in all of North Carolina.
The average for the county is 43 highway deaths per year, based on the last five years of data. Columbus Co. was ranked #2 and Bladen Co. was ranked #7.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation is hoping to change that.
The first meeting of the Robeson County Vision Zero Task Force is happening Thursday, Feb. 15 and will bring together community stakeholders who may be able to help change the dangerous driving culture in the county, according to Andrew Barksdale, NCDOT spokesman.
The county has the worst crash ranking in the state, based on several factors that include the number of crashes and their severity, the number of fatalities and the residential population.
Barksdale said a factor that needs to be considered is seat belt use.
He said 42 percent of the fatal crashes in Robeson County involved people not wearing seat belts. The statewide average is 31 percent.
“People in Robeson County are more prone to not wear a seat belt,” he said. “We need to figure out why.”
The members of the task force are:
- Grady Hunt, an N.C. Board of Transportation member and the task force chairman
- Robeson County Sheriff Ken Sealey
- Dr. Robin Cummings, chancellor of UNC Pembroke
- District Attorney Johnson Britt
- Dr. Shanita Wooten, interim superintendent, Public Schools of Robeson County
- Joann Anderson, president and CEO, Southeastern Health
- Gail Albertson, transportation manager, Mountaire Farms
- County Manager Ricky Harris
- Dr. Kimberly Gold, president, Robeson Community College
- UNC Pembroke Police Chief McDuffie Cummings Jr.
- Sgt. Philip Collins of the N.C. Highway Patrol
- Travis Bryant, associate vice chancellor for campus safety and emergency operations, UNC Pembroke
- Pembroke Police Chief Edward Locklear
The first task force meeting will happen from 10 a.m. to noon at the Chavis University Center room 208 at UNC Pembroke.