Distracted driving fuels increase in fatal accidents in Georgia

This article looks at what is behind the recent upswing in traffic deaths both in Georgia and nationwide.

Georgia has the fourth-most traffic fatalities in the country based on recently released figures, reports WSAV 3 News. While fatal motor vehicle accidents are up nationwide, in Georgia traffic fatalities soared ten percent last year, much higher than the national average. Safety experts say driver inattention, most notably due to smartphones and other mobile devices, is a major cause of the upswing. Other factors include impaired driving, lack of seat belt usage, and speeding.

Traffic deaths soaring in Georgia

Last year traffic deaths exceeded 1,500 in Georgia, making it the fourth deadliest state in the country for overall road deaths. That is also a ten-percent increase over 2015's traffic fatalities. Texas was ranked as the deadliest state for driving, with 3,751 traffic fatalities last year.

The surge in road deaths is a story that is being repeated across the country. As the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports, approximately 40,200 people died on the nation's roads and highways last year, the first time nationwide traffic deaths have exceed 40,000 since 2007. The increase also largely reverses what had been a 15 percent decline in nationwide traffic fatalities between 2007 and 2015. Today road crashes are the number one cause of death for Americans who are aged 30 and younger.

Why so many fatal accidents?

There is still plenty of debate about why traffic deaths are increasing so rapidly, both in Georgia and throughout the country. However, one likely culprit is distracted driving. Last year in Georgia, for example, 917 traffic fatalities occurred when drivers were trying to make a lane change. Such accidents are usually caused by drivers not paying attention to their surroundings. The main cause for the increase in distracted driving deaths is likely due to the widespread availability of smartphones. A motorist who spends just four seconds reading a text, for example, and is traveling at 60 mph risks driving the length of a football field without actually watching the road.

While distracted driving is likely the main reason for the increase in deaths, it is far from the only one. Impaired driving remains one of the leading causes of fatal accidents. Safety experts, however, say that an increasing share of impaired driving accidents are being caused not by alcohol, but by drugs, notably prescription drugs. Speeding and not wearing a seatbelt were also cited as common factors in traffic fatalities.

Personal injury law

For those who have been injured in a car accident, the next few weeks and months can be especially difficult. One challenge that faces many accident victims is figuring out how they are going to pay for the various expenses, such as medical costs, treatment, lost income, and vehicle repair, that often arise as a result of an accident. A personal injury attorney can help. By contacting an experienced attorney today, accident victims will have an advocate on their side fighting for their rights, including helping them pursue financial compensation they may be entitled to.