Modern driving technology combined with several changes in traffic law have caused the number of fatal car crashes to drop in recent years. Officials say that they expected that trend to continue this past year, but were sadly wrong. In 2019 in Georgia, 1,500 lives were lost to traffic fatalities, which was part of a continuing decline. Unfortunately, law enforcement from across the state found that at least 1,600 people died in crashes in 2020, and they say the numbers haven’t even been finalized. Many of these accidents will lead to wrongful death litigation as families attempt to deal with the loss of loved ones.
Authorities say that Georgia’s implementation of new traffic laws two years ago seemed to be causing a decline in traffic fatalities. The legislation banned the use of mobile and electronic devices while behind the wheel of a car. The previous peak of car crash fatalities, set in 1,556 in 2016, was dropping steadily and officials had every reason to think that would continue.
Though traffic in just the metro Atlanta area dropped by 10% in 2020, the number of fatal crashes rose. Over the Christmas weekend alone, there were 20 traffic fatalities in the state. Law enforcement speculates that clearer roads may have led people to believe it was safe to engage in dangerous driving behavior such as speeding or texting and driving. They also point to a failure to use seat belts and drunk driving as possible factors for the increase.
No matter the cause of these crashes, each of these victims may have had a loving family left behind. In addition to the emotional trauma, families may be financially devastated as they struggle to pay off hospital and funeral expenses or make up for income lost due to their loved one’s death. It may make sense for them to pursue civil litigation as a means of holding a negligent driver responsible. A Georgia attorney with significant experience handling wrongful death claims can help these families begin to put their lives back together.