Georgia Highway Fatalities: An Epidemic?

Georgia Highway Fatalities: An Epidemic?

We all do things we know we shouldn’t. Maybe you consume too much sugar or smoke cigarettes or don’t wear sunscreen in the summer. Many dangerous behaviors are tied to the way we drive — too fast, after having “only a few” beers, while using our phones, without wearing our seatbelt. Chances taken behind the wheel are having a big effect on the Peach State’s population, resulting in a startling increase in fatalities and a new campaign launched by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).

“DriveAlert ArriveAlive” aims to educate drivers about how a few fundamental changes in their driving behavior can improve safety while reducing both crashes and fatalities.

Statistics released by the GDOT this fall show a 25 percent increase in fatalities the first quarter of this year compared to 2014. This increases the average number of fatalities a month to 100, which puts Georgia on track to have over 1,200 fatalities this year. This number is particularly concerning to officials because it is the highest in almost a decade.

There have been 948 motor vehicle fatalities in Georgia this year as of late September, which represents a 15 percent increase compared to the same time last year. Sixty percent of them resulted from single-vehicle crashes. That means the majority of fatalities occur when drivers hit a fixed object, such as a bridge or tree, rather than another vehicle. Although not proven, it is assumed by many officials that this type of crash is largely caused by driver inattention or distraction rather than poor driving skills. That presumption is further substantiated by evidence that in the first quarter of the year, 79 percent of the fatalities were the result of driver behavior, 69 percent from failure to maintain the lane (where the vehicle drifts into another lane or off the roadway), and 10 percent from rear-end crashes. During that same period, only 38 percent of victims in fatal crashes were wearing their seat belts.

The GDOT urges people to take responsibility and modify their behavior when they revert to old bad habits. Simply by driving alert, buckling up and not texting, drivers can make a real difference in traffic safety. Setting that example for your children can also greatly influence their own driving behavior.

Given that teenagers have the highest crash rate of any group and that car wrecks are their No. 1 cause of death, showing them how to make better choices can help influence them to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

Your friends at the Mann Law Firm encourage you to make some simple changes in your driving behavior to help prevent crashes and save lives. If you have any questions about this topic, if you or someone you love has been injured in a traffic accident, or if you have lost a loved one in a car accident, the Macon personal injury attorneys of the Mann Law Firm can review your case and advise you whether you have grounds to seek financial compensation. Call us today at (478) 742-3381 or submit our online form and let us help you.