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Pike County leads in fatalities

Of the eight counties in its Trooper post, Pike County is leading in fatal wrecks for this year.

With 11 fatalities in 2009, Pike County is even ahead of Houston County, nearly triple in size, with nine reported for the year.

“I know many have had alcohol and speed as a factor,” said Alabama Trooper Spokesman Kevin Cook. “That’s pretty much the leading culprits right there — speed and alcohol related.”

Cook said often motorists don’t realize the speed limits on county roads, which don’t have posted signs many times.

“All county roads in Alabama are 45 miles per hour unless posted differently,” Cook said.

Another big factor to local fatalities have been not wearing seatbelts.

“Over 67.5 percent of the fatal trooper-related crashes, if the person had been wearing a seatbelt, they would have survived,” he said.

With seatbelt laws put into effect for years now, Cook said he is surprised at how many people don’t practice that habit.

“You would think our seatbelt usage would be higher,” Cook said.

Cook said another cause of wrecks throughout the Dothan post, are due to reckless driving.

“People have a bad misconception you have to be doing anything above 80 miles per hour to be a reckless driver,” Cook said. “But, reckless driving is anything that endangers the public, not just related to speed.”

Some examples are fixing hair or makeup while driving, changing the radio or even reading a book.

“You can be doing 25 miles per hour, but if you’re endangering the public, that’s reckless driving,” he said.

The counties in the Dothan Trooper Post are: Houston, Henry, Coffee, Pike, Barbour, Bullock, Geneva and Dale.