As the world tries to return to a sense of normalcy after the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlanta returns to its congestion-driven ways.
Some traffic trends reversed in the past couple years, such as the number of fatal highway crashes, which spiked during 2020 and 2021 despite fewer cars on the roads. Other trends, like the surge in pedestrian fatalities, have continued to grow worse.
We break down the traffic data from the past two years and present what the experts predict 2024 will look like for the state of Georgia in terms of motor vehicle accidents, driver behavior, and new safety measures.
Georgia Crash Data
In 2022, there were 384,527 total crashes in Georgia. Of these, 1,786 were fatal accidents with 1,844 people killed. Also, more than 150,000 people were injured as a result (that’s roughly 1 in 72 people).
Fatal crashes increased by 20% from 2019 to 2022, despite fewer miles traveled compared to pre-pandemic years.
Drivers who remained on the roads during these years engaged in riskier behavior, including excessive speeding, failure to wear seat belts, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
2023 Accident Trends
The year is almost over, and while the data is still coming in, early estimates for the first half of 2023 suggest there has been an overall decrease in fatal motor vehicle crashes. Compared to the first half of 2022, Georgians experienced 13.3% fewer fatalities.
However, reckless driving, speeding, and distracted driving are still contributing to dangerous road conditions for the most vulnerable users:
- Bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities accounted for 1 in 5 of all U.S. traffic fatalities in 2022.
- Motorcyclist fatalities increased by 20% from 2019 to 2022 (motorcyclists account for 14% of traffic deaths).
To combat these trends and make the roadways safe for all users, several safety initiatives at the federal and state levels have been announced. The U.S. DOT’s National Roadway Safety Strategy aims to reduce serious injuries and deaths to zero in the coming decades.
The safe system approach acknowledges that humans are both vulnerable and make mistakes, and therefore redundant systems are needed to protect everyone. Proposed requirements include automatic emergency braking systems for passenger cars and light trucks, as well as seatbelt warning systems.
The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) is focused on proactively eliminating crashes at intersections, roadway departures, and pedestrian and bicyclist zones. Its focus is to empower local communities to identify high-risk areas and provide the support each needs to engineer customized countermeasures.
The Cost of Traffic Accidents and Injuries
Car accidents result in a significant economic burden for both the victim and society as a whole. According to a 2023 NHTSA report, the economic costs include “medical care, lost productivity, legal and court costs, insurance administrative costs, workplace costs, congestion impacts (travel delay, excess fuel consumption, and pollution), emergency services, and property damage.”
The NHTSA also estimated the annual value of the lost quality-of-life cost caused by severe wrecks. Traffic crashes involving serious injuries and death in Georgia in 2022 caused a staggering total of $104 billion in terms of societal harm.
What Is an Individual Car Wreck Worth?
It can be difficult to put a price tag on the suffering caused by your injuries or the loss of a loved one. You may wonder about the total value of your wreck and how long it will take you to recover, financially and physically, afterward.
These situations are never easy and no two personal injury cases are alike. We know you have questions.
At Gary Martin Hays & Associates, we have helped countless families find peace of mind after a traumatic accident left them injured or bereaved. It’s our job to ensure the insurance companies cover the unexpected costs that come with your loss, such as medical bills, vehicle repair costs, funeral expenses, lost income, emotional suffering, and more.
To discuss your concerns, call (770) 934-8000 or contact us for a free consultation regarding your rights. We’ve helped the people of Georgia recover more than $1 billion for their pain and suffering; let us do the same for you.