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Athens, GA- If you are driving on Highway 316, you may want to keep a more watchful eye. There is a 45% increase in collisions this year than in 2013.

Commuter Timothy Gregory says, “It seems every time I’m on 316, there’s a new memorial to somebody who probably ended up in a fatal car accident on 316.”

Georgia state route 316 is becoming more dangerous for drivers. A recent hike in the rate of collisions and injuries continues to trend upward.  From January to September 2013, there were nearly 500 wrecks on the main road that connects Atlanta to Athens. In the same time frame this year, nearly 700 collisions have happened.

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Barrow County Sheriff Jud Smith says that distracted driving and speeding have led to more collisions and injuries on the road this year.

“We do have pretty big accidents at the intersections, but a lot of those, the contributing factors of those may or may not be impaired driving, distracted driving, speed has a lot to do with it.”

Sheriff Smith advises when you drive on Highway 316 to slow things down, especially at intersections, and keep your eyes on the road.

He says, “Take your time if you’re crossing. If the light changes, don’t try to beat the light. That’s what a lot people try to do. Go to an intersection with high visibility both ways. So that’s a way to do it. And stay off your phones.”

So, next time you are out on 316 remember to keep the phones away and take your time at intersections. Although wrecks and injuries have increased, deaths on the road are down this year. Sheriff Smith says this is because of a more visible law enforcement presence.

By: Nathaniel McDaniel @nate8929

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