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'I would ask individual drivers to please be accountable for their safety'

Lane County leads the State of Oregon in traffic deaths. Making county roads safer and changing driver behavior are at the root of the county's Transportation Safety Action Plan.Thumbnail

EUGENE, Ore. - Lane County is not the safest place to drive.

The county led the State of Oregon in traffic deaths in 2015 with 57 people killed.

"The leading contributing factor," said Becky Taylor, county transportation planner, "was excessive speed."

Taylor said making county roads safer and changing driver behavior are at the root of the county's Transportation Safety Action Plan.

"There are more fatalities in the rural area outside of the Eugene-Springfield metro area, which was another significant finding," Taylor said.

London Road near Cottage Grove leads the list of deadliest county roads, with 7 fatal collisions between 2010 and 2017.

Crow Road and Row River Road were the scenes of 6 fatal crashes each.

River Road in North Eugene and Marcola Road are tied for third, with 4 fatal crashes apiece.

Last week, the county released a new video on the program.

Much of the effort focuses on safety steps taken on several roads, including speed safety check signs and rumble strips engraved on the center lines and roadsides.

"That creates an audible vibration when the tire hits it," Taylor said. "It alerts the driver, and they have an opportunity to self correct."

Those efforts will continue this year, along with guardrail reinforcements.

Also new is the fatal crash investigation team "to figure out what we can do to avoid that type of collision in the future, so that we can save lives and reduce suffering," Taylor said.

But engineering can only go so far.

Drivers have to slow down - and embrace a culture of safety, she said.

"I would ask individual drivers to please be accountable for their safety and the safety of others," she said.

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