Fatal traffic accidents triple this year in Prince William County

The number of fatal accidents occurring in Prince William County from January to May is almost three times that of the same period in 2002, county police said Thursday.

Fourteen deaths in 13 accidents are predominantly the result of speeding, failure to wear a seat belt and driving while intoxicated, according to a press release.

Five people died in five accidents from January to May of 2002.

Seven of the 13 accidents involved high speed, while four of the accidents were alcohol-related, police said.

The increase is not indicative of any statistical trend, 1st Sgt. Kim Chinn, Prince William police spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview. Police do not know why the number of accidents has increased at such a rapid pace, Chinn said.

“It’s up to people,” Chinn said of safe driving. “The police can’t possibly be looking over every driver’s shoulder; that’s why we all must take responsibility for our driving and our safety.”

Police have no plans to add additional patrols, or increase traffic enforcement activity, because the existing programs are adequate to combat the problem, Chinn said.

County police set up speed traps in unmarked cars, not normally used in policing. They use radar and laser-based machines as well, the press release stated. Radar trailers flashing the speed of moving cars are set up at various points throughout the county, Chinn said. Sobriety checkpoints are utilized as well, police said.