We have survived the Holidays and so it is appropriate we review car crash records to see how we Georgians did in 2018. Were we any safer? Have car collisions declined in any aspect?
Each year, the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety publishes a report that lists all collision statistics for our state for that year. This includes any bicyclists and pedestrians who are involved in collisions. You may find a wealth of traffic statistics in that report. In 2017, Georgia traffic fatalities for the year were 1468, a 4% decrease compared to 1527 on the
same date in 2016. This change, however, was not statistically significant. We do not yet have the official tally of Georgia highway fatalities for 2018 yet. As of Sept. 30, 2018, fatalities from traffic crashes in Georgia were down 11 percent year to date, which represents the largest decrease of Georgia’s traffic fatalities in 10 years. As of September 2018, there had been 128 fewer fatalities in 2018 over 2017. Although this sounds like progress, the decrease is still probably not statistically significant.
Unofficially, fatal crashes were down 6 percent in 2018, according to Harris Blackwood, director of the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. This means 92 fewer lives have been lost on Georgia’s roads than in 2017. Some of this may be attributable to Georgia’s “Hands Free” law that went into effect July 1, 2018. It is hard to tell if there is a correlation. In fact, many state patrolmen report seeing drivers looking down into their laps to look at their phones now while driving, to attempt to avoid being caught.
And we know that traffic fatalities tend to go up during the holidays in December, due to an increase in drinking and driving, despite the rise in use of Uber and Lyft. On New Year’s Eve, we learned about a drunk driver crashing into a police patrol car that had stopped on the side of the road to help another motorist. The drunk driver was driving at an estimated speed of 80-85 m.p.h. Toxicology reports have now shown that driver to have had a blood alcohol level 3 times the legal limit. Fortunately, no one, including the drunk driver, was hurt in this crash, but it, obviously, could have been so much worse. We know there was one fatality in Thomas County, Georgia on New Year’s Eve and a fatality in Early County, Georgia. Cobb County reported no fatalities over the New Year’s holiday. That’s good news, especially for a county the size of Cobb.
We’ll eagerly await the official counts from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and from the Georgia Department of Transportation. Just remember to drive safely and soberly always.
Robin Frazer Clark is a trial lawyer who pursues justice for those who have personal injury claims as a result of being injured in motor vehicle wrecks, trucking wrecks, defective products, defective maintenance of roads, premises safety, medical malpractice and other incidents caused by the negligence of others. Ms. Clark is the 50th President of the State Bar of Georgia, a Past President of Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, a Past President of the Lawyers Club of Atlanta and has practiced law in Georgia for 30 years. She is a member of the International Society of Barristers and of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Mrs. Clark is listed as one of the Top 50 Women Trial Lawyers in Georgia and is a Georgia Super Lawyer.
Robin Frazer Clark ~ Dedicated to the Constitution’s Promise of Justice for All.