As more Georgia residents got back on the road last year after months of homeschooling, Zoom meetings and Uber Eats orders, the number of people killed in crashes rose. According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Georgia had approximately 12% more traffic deaths in the first nine months of 2021 than in the same period the previous year. That amounted to over 1,300 fatalities.
Final numbers are still being tabulated. However, this mirrors what the country as a whole experienced last year. The majority of states saw a rise in traffic fatalities.
It’s not just that there were more vehicles on the road in 2021 than 2020. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), which oversees NHTSA, the projected number of deaths nationwide for January through September of 2021 (nearly 32,000) will be the highest in 15 years.
According to NHTSA, dangerous behaviors like speeding and not wearing seatbelts increased while people in many areas throughout the U.S. were under lockdown orders and those drivers on the roads may have felt more freedom to do as they pleased. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has called this an “unacceptable crisis.”
What steps are being taken to make the roads safer?
The Biden Administration, and specifically the DOT, has committed to infrastructure improvements and incentivizing states to make our roads safer. This includes:
- Lowering speed limits
- Increasing the number of crosswalks
- Installing more speed cameras
- Improving street lighting
- Making design changes in the roads
- Adding bus and bike lanes
Sec. Buttigieg believes the extra money already approved to improve rail and other forms of public transportation will increase safety “if only because every other mode of transportation is safer” than cars.
Meanwhile, those of us in the Atlanta area are well aware of the dangers we face on our roads and highways. Too often, even a split-second distraction for a driver or moment of carelessness can cause a serious, if not catastrophic, crash.
If you or a loved one has been injured or worse by another driver, don’t accept less than you need and deserve to deal with your expenses and damages. Victims and family members don’t always make the best choices for themselves in the aftermath of a crash. It’s wise to seek experienced legal guidance to help ensure that your rights and interests are protected.