We are heading in the wrong direction with our highway safety and that is bad news for all Georgians. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety has just issued a statement that warns drivers to be safe this holiday season. Traffic fatalities are up in Georgia for the first time since 2005. Over 1,000 people have died on Georgia’s roads and highways so far this year. In my experience litigating cases involving highway fatalities as an Atlanta wrongful death lawyer, the fact that we are moving in the wrong direction does not surprise me. It saddens me greatly.
Over the years I have supported my clients through the grief of losing a loved one. It is one of the most heart-wrentching aspects of my law practice. But it is important that victims and their families have the support needed to recover from these tragic accidents.
We are poised to head backwards. According to the GOHS director as reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution this morning, ” ‘Already, we have surpassed where we were this time last year and we have not even entered the holiday season, our busiest traffic period of the year,’ ” he said.
Over the years, Georgia’s traffic fatality rate has been decreasing. In 2005, there were 1,745 deaths on our roads and in 2011, there were 1,226. But we are just at the start of the holiday season and it is likely that more deaths will occur and will raise these statistics.
As we have noted in prior posts, fatal crashes are often due to speeding, impairment or failure to use seat belts. Over half of those killed in traffic accidents in Georgia were NOT wearing seat belts when they were on the road.
Think about this. As our roads become more congested and drivers are more reckless with their risk taking, putting on your seat belt can save your life if you are in a car crash.
One of the new developments in our driving life is hazardous. Texting while driving which is not legal in Georgia is very dangerous. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-241 prohibits this activity, but many drivers continue to hold their phones and write texts which takes their attention off the road. This is especially true for teen drivers who have a very high rate of fatal crashes.
This holiday season, please put your seat belts on and get your kids buckled up as well. Watch for impaired drivers on the road and call 911 if you see one.
The Law Offices of Charles Scholle specializes in serious injury and accident cases. Please contact my Gwinnett County and Atlanta area law offices if you have been injured in an accident in the Atlanta, Georgia area. I will consult with you at no charge to evaluate your accident rights and remedies.