Motor Vehicle Fatalities Increase Despite Reduced Traffic on Atlanta Roads

Written By: The Champion Firm Team

Date Posted: 06.26.20

Category: Car Accident Motor Vehicle Accidents

To better serve our Atlanta Personal Injury clients, The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C. stays up-to-date on all new data, studies and statistics relating to motor vehicle accidents and driving safety. 

Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released preliminary estimates for the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) 2019 data on highway crashes. Overall, the numbers showed a decline in traffic fatalities, continuing the trend from 2018 and 2017. Read the whole report

More specifically, Georgia’s 1,504 traffic deaths in 2018 is a 2.3 percent decrease from the 1,540 traffic deaths in 2017. This is the biggest drop in Georgia’s traffic deaths since 2012 when the 1,192 traffic deaths was 34 less than the 1,226 in 2011 (source: Georgia Governor Office of Highway Safety).

The 2020 Data

The good news is that Q1 data for 2020 shows a continued drop in fatalities but despite many predictions that car fatalities would have a dramatic decrease in Q2 due to the Covid-19 shutdown, the National Safety Council recently released new data showing the number of motor vehicle fatalities per miles driven actually increased by 14% nationwide compared with the March 2019 rate. 

The National Safety Council analysis defines a fatality as anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident; drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists. 

While additional data is still being gathered to determine exact causes of fatalities, preliminary information shows increases in speeding, likely due to wide open roadways and less police presence is a significant factor. Reduced police presence may also may be a factor. In the third week of June alone, Atlanta police officers only made 50 traffic stops, a dramatic change from the 3,011 traffic stops conducted the same week last year according to the Atlanta Police Department Weekly Report.

“Disturbingly, we have open lanes of traffic and an apparent open season on reckless driving,” a statement from the president and CEO of the National Safety Council Lorraine M. Martin said.

National Driving Safety Month

As a reminder, This June, during the 2020 National Safety Month, the National Safety Council is highlighting the importance of driving safely. Educating fellow Atlanta drivers on the importance of driver safety and education is a vital part of our process at The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C.. Every day we work with clients in Smyrna, Vinings, Marietta and all over Georgia who are living with the heartbreaking consequences of being hit by a distracted or careless driver.

According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, 76% of fatalities in Georgia car accidents are caused by distracted driving behaviors.

The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C.’s 6 Tips to staying Safe on Atlanta Roadways

#1 Buckle Up. Not only is it good advice but in Georgia, wearing your seatbelt is the law. Taking a few seconds to fasten your seat belt before driving will not only save your life if you get into a serious accident, but it could also save you from a ticket and driving record points that could impact your insurance rates down the road. A seatbelt citation could run anywhere from $15 – $25.

#2 Stay off your phone and other devices. Driving and texting falls into all three categories of distractions mentioned above. Over 84% of drivers recognize the danger from cell phone distractions and find it “unacceptable” that drivers text or send email while driving. However 36% of the same people surveyed admitted to having read or sent a text message or e-mail while driving as recently as in the previous month. (Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety). Bottom line, don’t text and drive.

#3 Drive Defensively. Remember those skills we practiced when we first learned to drive? Use your signals, keep both hands on the wheel, check your mirrors, watch your speed and stay alert. Following simple defensive driving techniques could save your life!

#4 Get in the habit of helping your fellow motorists by reporting hazards on the metro Atlanta highways. Call 511 to reach the Georgia Department of Traffic Operation Center on your cell phone to report debris on the roads. That request triggers an immediate dispatch of a Hero Unit that can safely remove the hazard from the road reducing traffic congestion and potentially saving lives. Make sure you have the mile marker or exit noted! They also have a convenient app packed full of helpful information for Georgia drivers.

#5 Don’t drive tired. Sleep deprivation is real and can impact both concentration and reaction time. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every year about 100,000 police-reported crashes involve drowsy driving. These crashes result in more than 1,550 fatalities and 71,000 injuries. A surprising number of drowsy driving crashes involve a driver under the age of 25, who make up an estimated 50% or more of drowsy driving crashes.

#6 Don’t drink and drive. A Georgia DUI conviction is a serious crime with serious consequences. If it is a first-time DUI conviction, the maximum consequences are a fine of $1,000 and up to 12 months in jail. The minimum consequences are 24 hours in jail and a $300.00 fine. Over 10,000 people are killed annually in accidents in Georgia involving driving under the influence. When in doubt, take an Uber or Lyft home and keep yourself and other drivers safe.

Bonus Tip: Buying a car this summer? Make sure it has adaptive cruise control! Since 2018 most manufacturers have installed this cutting edge technology that provides an additional level of autonomous safety. Adaptive cruise control, uses forward-looking radar, installed behind the grill of a vehicle to detect the speed and distance of the vehicle ahead of it. While similar to conventional cruise control in that it maintains the vehicle’s pre-set speed, unlike conventional cruise control, this technology can automatically adjust speed in order to maintain a proper distance between vehicles in the same lane. This is achieved through a radar headway sensor, digital signal processor and longitudinal controller. If the lead vehicle slows down, or if another object is detected, the system sends a signal to the engine or braking system to decelerate. When the road is clear the system will re-accelerate the vehicle back to the set speed.

Our Atlanta Accident Attorneys are here for you.

We want all Georgia Drivers to stay safe on the roads, but, if you are injured or you lose someone you love due to someone else’s negligence or distracted driving please don’t hesitate to contact us. The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C. has skilled accident attorneys and is here for our neighbors and community.

We want all Georgia Drivers to stay safe on the roads, but, if you are injured or you lose someone you love due to someone else’s negligence or distracted driving please contact us today for a free consultation with an Atlanta car accident attorney. We fight every day for our neighbors and community and remember, you don’t pay unless we win. Call (678) 944-7915 today or fill out the form below.

By: Darl H. Champion Jr.

About the Author

The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C. is a full-service personal injury law firm serving the greater Metro Atlanta area. Our award-winning team of attorneys specializes in car accidents, wrongful death, premises liability, and slip-and-fall cases. Learn more about our team here.