Despite hopes that less traffic on roads and highways during the pandemic would reduce accidents and deaths, the opposite happened. Both 2020 and 2021 were shockingly deadly and dangerous years for drivers.
Some drivers saw the empty roads and light traffic as an invitation to speed. Driver error and irresponsibility contributed to most fatal crashes. Experts point to speeding, impaired driving, and distracted driving as the main factors.
Greater speeds in a collision mean a greater impact that passengers and pedestrians are less likely to survive. Every transportation group, from bikers to pedestrians to motorists, was affected.
Georgia Crash Data
In 2020, there were more than 330,000 crashes. Of these, 1,588 were fatal accidents with 1,730 people killed. Nearly 125,000 people were recorded as injured.
This deadly trend continued in 2021. Early estimates show there were 1,776 traffic fatalities in Georgia.
Despite being the 8th most-populous state, Georgia ranks 4th for the largest number of fatal accidents.
And the uptick in fatal crashes that began at the start of the pandemic has yet to slow down. 2022 may be yet another year where deadly crashes increase from the year prior, representing what some in the transportation industry call a crisis.
2022 Fatal Accident Trends
Speed seems to be the biggest factor in fatal accidents. Half of all car crashes each year in the U.S. are caused by aggressive drivers, most of whom were speeding.
Despite nearly identical rates of driving, male drivers are more likely to be involved in fatal crashes — in 2016, male drivers were involved in 34% of fatal crashes while female drivers were only involved in 12%. In recent years, 71% of all motor vehicle crash deaths and 70% of pedestrians killed were males.
Teens continued to suffer high crash fatality rates as well. Speed, lack of driving education, and distracting passengers put many 16- to 19-year-olds at risk of a fatal wreck.
Pedestrians deaths have spiked in the last few years. According to the IIHS, pedestrian deaths accounted for nearly 17% of all motor vehicle crash fatalities in 2019. About 1 in 5 pedestrian deaths involved a hit-and-run accident. Distractions are the third leading cause of pedestrian fatalities, mostly due to electronic devices.
Unless individual drivers make the decision to obey the speed limit, drive cautiously, and limit distractions, the unfortunate statistics of 2020 and 2021 may be equaled or surpassed this year.
Ways to Reduce Fatal Accidents
Drivers have to take responsibility when it comes to making the roadway safe for themselves and others. Ignoring their phone, driving sober, and buckling up are the easiest measures for individuals to take.
Wearing a seatbelt, especially, is a huge factor when comes to crash safety. A person is far more likely to survive a crash if they are wearing a seatbelt. This goes for everyone in the car, not just the driver.
Not wearing a seatbelt means you are 30 times more likely to be ejected from the vehicle during a crash (which in turn, increases your chance of dying).
Other ways to reduce the chances of a fatal car crash include:
- Put your smartphone on silent. If you use it to listen to music or need directions, set up those features before you begin driving.
- Don’t look at passengers when speaking to them and ask that all passengers remain calm and respectful while inside the vehicle.
- Don’t reach for or look around for items inside a car or truck while on the road. They aren’t going anywhere.
- Drive sober and alert. Drunk driving contributes to more than 3 in 10 roadway deaths.
- Drive the speed limit. Going 5 mph over the speed limit is still speeding. The faster you’re going when a crash happens, the more danger you are in of serious injury or death.
- Keep your distance from other vehicles. Tailgating not only stresses out the driver in front of you, you also won’t have enough time to stop if they hit the brakes.
- Don’t take unnecessary risks such as pulling out in front of oncoming traffic or racing a yellow light.
- Slow down when there is inclement weather such as snow or rain, construction, heavy traffic, children and crowds nearby, and other hazards.
- Remain calm when another driver acts rude or aggressive. Escalating the situation could lead to a disastrous outcome. Avoid eye contact and keep your distance from the other vehicle.
- Get good sleep. Drowsy and fatigued driving is a lot like driving under the influence. Avoid driving while tired or pull over if you’re already on the road and take a power nap.
When Someone Is Killed in an Accident That Wasn’t Their Fault
Even if a person does what they should be doing behind the wheel, another driver may make an irresponsible decision that ends in tragedy. When someone is killed in a car accident, motorcycle accident, or truck accident through no fault of their own, their family may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim.
These cases are never easy. Many of the victims are young and leave behind grieving parents or families of their own.
We know you have questions. At Gary Martin Hays & Associates, we have helped countless families after the accidental death of a loved one. It’s our job to ensure the insurance companies cover the unexpected costs that come with their loss, such as medical bills, funeral expenses, future lost income, and emotional suffering.
Call (770) 934-8000 or contact us for a free consultation with a fatal car accident lawyer today.
Attorneys Gary Martin Hays and Sarah R. Jett wrote the best-selling book on wrongful death law in Georgia. In it, they answer questions about who can file a wrongful death claim, how to prove a wrongful death claim, and the steps lawyers take when evaluating a wrongful death settlement.