GEORGIA
Safe Communities of DeKalb County

 

PROJECT CHARACTERISTICS PROGRAM AREA(S)
  Outstanding collaborative effort
Innovative or non-traditional approach
  Safe Communities
       
TYPE OF JURISDICTION    
  County    
       
TARGETED POPULATION(S) JURISDICTION SIZE
  General Population
Hispanic Americans
Asian Americans
  600,000


PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION
Data collected by the DeKalb County, Georgia Board of Health indicate that unintentional injuries were a leading cause of premature deaths in the county, and that motor vehicle crashes have contributed to the largest number of these deaths. Other data provided by the Georgia Department of Transportation indicate that the county has been undergoing an alarming increase in its pedestrian fatality rate, especially in the growing Hispanic and Asian immigrant communities, and among elementary school aged children. However, a community survey revealed that motor vehicle-related injuries were ranked as the health risk of least concern among DeKalb County residents.


GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
In order to reduce traffic crash-related injuries and fatalities throughout the county, the Dekalb County Board of Health developed the Safe Communities of DeKalb County project in 1998. Programs objectives were to:

  • Enhance communications between county agencies and community groups
  • Analyze crash data to identify risk factors and high risk locations
  • Promote pedestrian safety, targeting Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans and elementary school students
  • Focus on impaired driving-related motor vehicle crashes, fatalities and injuries


STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES
In 1998, the DeKalb County Board of Health created Safe Communities of DeKalb County as the primary strategy for resolving the county's traffic safety problem. The new organization was directed by a Safe Communities Coalition of 50 community members including representatives of businesses, neighborhood associations, local chapters of national associations, traffic safety advocates, county agencies, and local offices of state agencies. The Coalition was formed into four work groups: Data Analysis and Distribution, Road Design, Driver Behavior, and Pedestrian Safety. These groups worked with the community to organize and implement the following activities designed to accomplish the primary goal of the Safe Communities effort:

  • Coalition members analyzed traffic crash data and produced maps and data sheets for dissemination to county agencies and to concerned community groups
  • The Coalition generated extensive media coverage of high risk roadway locations
  • Nationally recognized experts on road design analyzed DeKalb roadways and presented their findings to residents, community leaders and local politicians
  • The Coalition sponsored a one-day conference on road design and traffic calming, which was presented by national road design experts for an audience of traffic engineers, urban planners, local residents and businesses
  • Coalition members joined with the Office of Public Safety and Safe Kids of DeKalb in organizing the first annual Walk Our Children to School, an event to promote pedestrian safety to children. More than 100 volunteers and 900 children participated
  • The Coalition designed and conducted a pedestrian safety survey of all 81 DeKalb County elementary schools. Data will be used to identify pedestrian safety problems and develop intervention programs
  • Community education programs on pedestrian safety were conducted in the Hispanic community


RESULTS
Because this is a new program, results are pending assessment of crash data. However, according to a poll conducted by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the efforts of the Safe Communities of DeKalb County project have resulted in traffic safety becoming one of the top four concerns of county residents.

 

FUNDING
  Section 402:
$86,400
CONTACT  
 

Marie Schwartz, RN, M.P.H.
Safe Communities Coordinator
DeKalb County Board of Health
455 Winn Way
Decatur, GA 30031
(404) 5087829



NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION

SUMMER 2000