New Research Indicating Significant Increase in Traffic Fatalities in Georgia
Traffic-related Fatalities Caused by Negligent Drivers in Georgia Are on the Rise
Recent improvements in traffic safety would seem to provide a basis for optimism that collision-related injuries and deaths will decline in the near future. These innovations include investment in safer roadway design, vehicles equipped with collision avoidance systems, autonomous (self-driven) vehicles, and tougher drunk driving laws. Despite these innovations, a new report suggests that much remains to be done to make the roadways of Atlanta and the surrounding areas of Georgia safe for drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. In this blog, our Georgia auto accident lawyers examine the factors that have contributed to the recent rise in traffic fatalities throughout the state.
Traffic-related fatalities in Georgia rose by a third from 2014 to 2016 according to a report published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC). The new total for motor vehicle deaths amounts to the fifth highest increase among U.S. states during the two-year span. The rise also amounts to double the national average for crash-related deaths according to the National Safety Council (NSC). The average national increase was only fourteen percent by comparison. Approximately 1,500 people tragically lost their lives in Georgia car accidents just during 2016.
Although traffic safety experts and the media have lauded advances in making our roadways safer, the most common causes of driving fatalities remain unchanged according to the spokesman for authors of the report. A spokesman for the NSC confirms that drunk driving, speeding, and driver inattention continue to be the leading causes of deaths involving motor vehicle collisions. These three factors have been the most deadly driving-related behaviors for decades, and this new data indicates that advances in traffic safety have not eliminated these risks.
The NSC also specifically highlighted the impact of distracted driving. Traffic citations issued for infractions involving wireless communication devices while driving provide strong evidence of the impact of cell phones on the increase in traffic fatalities. In 2010, Georgia enacted a cell phone law that banned motorists under 18 with a learner’s permit from any use of a wireless device behind the wheel and prohibiting adult drivers from texting and driving. Between the date of enactment through 2014, law enforcement issued 7,100 tickets in Georiga for cell phone offenses.
Harris Blackwood, the director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, commented to the AJC that the numbers regarding distracted drivers are probably grimmer than indicated by government data. As he points out, law enforcement typically has difficulty proving a crash was caused by cell phone use unless a motorist admits to distracted driving. Since drivers have a strong interest in avoiding traffic citations and liability for traffic accidents, many crashes caused by mobile phone use or other distractions often get attributed to other causes.
Some traffic safety experts have suggested cell phone use while driving might be more dangerous than operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol though both practices are extremely dangerous. Both forms of unsafe driving can result in the vehicle swerving all over the road. However, the drunk driver might focus on trying to keep his car in its lane while the texter could be oblivious to his vehicle drifting into an adjacent lane or off the road.
Suggestions in the AJC article for curbing the number of traffic-related fatalities include:
- A universal ban on cell phone use while driving
- Expanding use of red light cameras
- Making crash avoidance features, such as adaptive cruise control, standard
Put Our Law Firm's Over 36 Years of Experience to Work For You!
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle collision in Atlanta or the surrounding areas of Georgia, contact out attorneys at Montlick and Associates for a free consultation to learn about your legal rights as well as what steps can be taken to protect those rights. Montlick and Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast for over 36 years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours day/7 days a week for 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.
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