Traveling along one of the four-lane highways in Polk County is a common occurrence for many people as they travel to work or businesses.
From U.S. 278, that runs through the middle of the county, connecting Cedartown to Rockmart and providing a route to Paulding County and Metro Atlanta, to U.S. 27, that allows traffic to flow from Floyd County down to Haralson County, Polk’s major highways are important for commerce and transportation.
But the Polk County Police Department, which monitors the roadways outside of the incorporated city limits, is warning drivers on those highways to pay closer attention to their speed.
A closer look at statistics from citations issued from July 29-Sept. 2 by the agency show a significant problem with speeding drivers on three sections of highways in Polk County.
The most traffic stops that resulted in speeding citations during that 36-day period were made on the section of U.S. 27 south of Cedartown to the Haralson County line with 159. Next was U.S. 278 southeast of Rockmart to the Paulding County Line with 31, while 30 citations were issued for drivers along U.S. 278 between Rockmart city limits and Cedartown city limits.
The average speed detected resulting in a traffic stop was 89 mph on 278 from Rockmart to Paulding County, where the speed limit is 65. According to the statistics, the stretch of road had one driver clocked at 122 mph during the period, while others included one at 98, 96, and 94.
“We’ve had several fatal accidents on these highways, and at that speed there is no reaction time when someone pulls out in front of you,” Polk County Police Chief Kenny Dodd said, adding that he knows some people get frustrated seeing officers sitting on the side of the highway many times.
“This is the reason we’re there. Our goal is to prevent speeding, and hopefully people will slow down. But as you can see, they don’t.”
The average speed of those pulled over for speeding between Rockmart and Cedartown was 84 mph with a top speed of 88 mph where the speed limit is 65, while those stopped on U.S. 27 south of Cedartown had an average speed of 79 mph in a 55 mph zone with a top speed of 90 mph.
Dodd said the majority of the traffic stops were made between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m and the most dangerous area among the roadways included in the statistics is U.S. 278 at Ga. 113 south of Rockmart.
Known locally as the Yorkville turnoff, Dodd said they have worked a lot of fatal wrecks at the intersection. It is also where officers clocked the car traveling 122 mph. Since Jan. 1, Polk County Police have worked 47 wrecks on 278 and 17 on 27.
According to statistics provided by the Polk County Police, there are 70 wrecks an hour in Georgia that lead to injuries. Speeding is the No. 2 cause of fatal wrecks in Georgia and the No. 5 cause of wrecks overall.