If the number of fatalities in any given year is a fair gauge of the safety of driving in a state, then Georgia is indeed a dangerous place. In 2016, Georgia ranked as the 4th highest state in the country for deaths on its roadways, with more than 1,500 people dying in motor vehicle accidents. Since the beginning of this year, there have been more than 160 fatalities on Georgia roads. According to the Georgia Department of Transportation’s statistics, the number of fatalities was up in 2015 and 2016 after a steady decline between 2007 and 2013.
If the number of fatalities in any given year is fair gauge of the safety of driving in a state, then Georgia is indeed a dangerous place. In 2016, Georgia ranked as the 4th highest state in the country for deaths on its roadways, with more than 1,500 people dying in motor vehicle accidents. Since the beginning of this year, there have been more than 160 fatalities on Georgia roads. According to the Georgia Department of Transportation’s statistics, the number of fatalities was up in 2015 and 2016 after a steady decline between 2007 and 2013.
Those closest to the fatalities that occur on Georgia’s highways, Georgia State Troopers, readily confirm that the vast majority of all fatalities result from some type of driver error, regardless of whether the deceased individual was actually driving or whether another driver caused the fatal accident. Such driving errors include, but are not limited to, speeding, drunk driving, not wearing seat belts, and distracted driving.
The GDOT keeps statistics on the number of fatalities fitting into categories that investigating police can confidently determine as the cause, broken down into the following categories, with explanations of the various driver errors involved (speeding, alcohol, etc.):
- Unrestrained Passenger Vehicle Occupant Fatalities
- Alcohol Impaired Driving Fatalities
- Speeding Related Fatalities
- Motorcyclist Fatalities
- Un-helmeted Motorcyclist Fatalities
- Age 20 or Younger Fatalities
- Pedestrian Fatalities
- Bicycle Fatalities
- Front Seat Passenger Vehicle Occupant Observed
These statistics confirm that the failure to wear seat belts, speeding, and alcohol or drug impaired driving are significant contributing factors in fatal crashes. While these statistics are elucidating for those who need to assess the reasons why Georgia’s roadways are dangerous, they are not all-inclusive, and do not speak to the specific circumstances of any individual accident. For example, there is no category for fatalities resulting from distracted driving, be it cellphone or tablet usage, eating, applying makeup, changing radio stations, etc. Georgia State Police readily acknowledge that distracted driving is likely a significant reason for the recent increase in fatalities over the last two and one-half years. Unfortunately, unlike other causes such as alcohol or drug-impaired driving which can be confirmed through blood tests, there is seldom any definitive proof that a driver who causes a fatal accident was texting, or using a cell phone unlawfully in some manner. Still, while objective evidence is not available, Georgia’s State Police are extremely suspicious that distracted driving is a very dangerous practice of which motorists need to be mindful.
To carry out its part in reminding drivers that they take their lives in their hands and put others at risk by any of the recognized causes of fatal accidents, the Georgia Department of Transportation has found a way to remind all motorists of Georgia roads that driving is a privilege that requires everyone stay vigilant all times he/she is operating a vehicle. The GDOT now has overhead highway signs that periodically display the rate of traffic fatalities in Georgia day-by-day.
Georgia’s State Troopers are equally dedicated to reigning in the number of traffic fatalities. Speaking to a WSAV reporter earlier this year, Trooper Dustin Stone offered some sage advice to Georgia motorists: “Put your phone down, pay attention to the roadway, don’t drink and drive and always wear your seat belt. You do all those things you decrease your chances of being involved in a fatal collision greatly.” We should all heed this advice.
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If you have been involved in a serious or fatal accident, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible to learn about your legal rights as well as what steps are necessary to protect those rights. Hiring a competent car accident attorney can be a critical step to protecting yourself and possibly recovering compensation. The lawyers at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law can help. Our firm has over 39 years of experience representing care accident victims across Georgia and the Southeast. Contact us to schedule your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour-Live Online Chat.