Drivers in Georgia should know that there is some good news and bad news regarding the number of traffic fatalities in 2019. Preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council say that 38,800 people in the U.S. died in traffic accidents that year. This represents a 2% decline from the previous year and a 4% decrease from 2017, but the number is still admittedly high.
Some people in Georgia may have heard that autonomous vehicles will make roads much safer. While this may be true, there is some evidence that semi-autonomous vehicles might be making roads less safe. Drivers in semi-autonomous vehicles tend to relax and allow themselves to be distracted, and this means that they do not always react in time when their attention is required.
In 2019, there were 953,630 car crashes in Georgia and across the U.S. This marks a 6.8% increase from 2018, which saw 892,615 crashes. The transportation nonprofit Go Safe Labs has come out with a list of the 10 cities that saw the most crashes in 2019 as well as a list of 10 "hotspots" where the most accidents arose.
Red light running is behind many auto, bicyclist and pedestrian accidents in Georgia, some of which are fatal. In a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey, 92.9% of drivers said they know that running a red light is wrong, yet 42.7% admitted to doing it at least once in the previous 30 days.
Ignition interlock devices provide an effective way to curb drunk driving. They are so effective that Georgia and 33 other states have a law requiring DUI offenders to install an IID in their vehicle. This device is nothing more than an in-car Breathalyzer, and it prevents a car from starting if the driver fails the test.
Georgia residents should know that drowsy driving is a fast-growing public health concern. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine conducted a Sleep Prioritization Survey asking 2,003 U.S. adults whether they have had trouble keeping their eyes open while driving. Forty-five percent replied that they have.
Car accident victims in Georgia may be eligible for compensation under personal injury law, but they must prove that negligence on the other side caused their injuries, property damage or other losses. Negligence is anything that goes against the reasonable care that one should exercise toward others, such as the lawful entrants of a business property or for drivers and pedestrians.
Distracted driving is a significant problem on roads in Georgia and throughout the country. Each year, it causes $40 million in economic losses, and cellphone use is the most common distraction that drivers encounter. However, other distractions exist such as rubbernecking, changing a radio station or talking to a passenger. According to a 2016 study, 60% of respondents said that they had used a cellphone while driving at least one time.
As the clock turns back with the end of daylight saving time, drivers in Georgia may face more dangerous roads. While the clock change itself is always scheduled for 2 a.m. on a Sunday to avoid unnecessary disruption, even a one-hour shift in sleep schedules can cause surprising effects. The end of daylight saving time can change the body's internal clock and circadian rhythms, contributing to greater feelings of sleepiness. Of course, these are the immediate effects of the clock change. Because it is a one-hour change, most people may be able to adjust to the difference over a short period of time.
After several years of increasing figures, the number of people who died in motor vehicle crashes on U.S. roads finally declined in 2018, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report. However, that decrease was offset by the news that more pedestrians, cyclists and senior drivers are dying in traffic accidents in Georgia and across the country.