Driving a vehicle is an everyday activity for most of us. It can often feel like a mundane task. However, it is important to always remember that driving is an inherently dangerous activity that causes millions of injuries and thousands of deaths each year in the United States. This is especially true for those of us in Georgia, where there has unfortunately been an increase in fatal accidents in recent years.
After trending downward for a decade, the number of fatalities on Georgia highways spiked in 2015, from 1,170 to 1,432. The number increased again in 2016, all the way up to 1,561. In 2017 the number remained about the same as the year previous, with the official number of roadway fatalities being reported as 1550. As WMAZ News recently reported, this amounts to about four motor vehicle accident deaths per day in the State of Georgia.
Common Causes of Fatal Accidents in Georgia
There are three major causes of fatal accidents: distracted driving, impaired driving, and speeding. These days, the prime cause of distracted driving is the cellular phone. Texting while driving, or otherwise using a handheld device, is extremely dangerous because it creates both a visual and a cognitive distraction for the driver. It has been reported that text-messaging drivers are eight times more likely to be in an accident, and that drivers distracted in any type of way are four times more likely to be in an accident. Georgia drivers should also remember that it is illegal to text and drive at the same time.
When most of us think of impaired driving, we think of DUI. And indeed, DUI creates an unacceptable risk that should not be tolerated. However, another form of impairment that causes a substantial number of accidents each year is sleepy or drowsy driving. There are obviously few things more dangerous than falling asleep at the wheel, but even when drowsy drivers manage to stay awake, an accident is more likely to occur because fatigue significantly hinders reaction time.
Speeding also presents a major risk. Many accidents are caused because drivers are traveling too fast to take a turn or to change lanes when necessary. In other cases, drivers have been traveling at the speed limit, but were going too fast for the weather or traffic conditions. Less frequent, but still sometimes a problem, are drivers that go too slow on highways. Under Georgia’s “slow poke” law, “No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.”
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, 74% of roadway fatalities can be attributed to distracted driving, impaired driving or driving too fast for conditions. Other causes of fatal accidents include violating rules of the road, pedestrian or cyclist negligence, unsafe road conditions, and vehicle malfunctions.
In more than half of fatal accidents in Georgia in 2017, the victims were not wearing their seatbelts. This is a striking statistic when considering that seat belt usage hovers around 90%. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, seat belts save roughly 14,000 lives every year.
Drive Alert, Arrive Alive
In response to the alarming increase in fatalities, the Georgia Department of Transportation, in partnership with the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, launched the “DriveAlert ArriveAlive” campaign. The goal of the campaign is to reduce accidents “by educating drivers about simple changes they can make in their driving behavior to prevent crashes, improve safety and save lives.” The campaign has three core messages for drivers:
- Buckle up;
- Stay off the phone and mobile devices; and
- Drive alert.
Who is the Best Attorney for Fatal Car Accidents in Georgia?
The decision on which attorney to hire for a fatal Georgia car wreck can be difficult. First, you want someone who has the experience required to handle such a complicated case. You also need to make sure the attorney you hire is not overworked and can devote his or herself to your case. Consider interviewing several firms or lawyers before making your decision so you can feel confident that you are hiring the best lawyer for your case.
Williams | Elleby Helps Victims Get the Compensation They Deserve
All drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles with reasonable care and follow the rules of the road. This duty is extremely important because serious traffic accidents can place an enormous burden on personal injury victims and family members. The experienced legal team at Williams | Elleby, is dedicated to ensuring that accident victims get the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has been in an accident, it is important to understand your legal rights and options.
Georgia is a “fault” state when it comes to auto accident liability. This means that if a party is responsible for causing an accident, they have an obligation to compensate any victims of harm. The attorneys at Williams | Elleby, work hard to provide knowledgeable, accessible, and effective service to each of its personal injury clients, with the goal of maximizing compensation. If you would like to consult with one of the attorneys at Williams | Elleby, call 833-LEGALGA to schedule a free meeting.