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GDOT Shows Distracted Driving a Factor in Increase in Traffic Accident Fatalities

Motor vehicle accident fatalities continue to be a problem across the United States. This is true in Georgia, where the traffic accident fatality toll in the first half of 2015 looks set to exceed the number recorded the previous year. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) believes that distracted driving, accounts for much of that increase.

Thus far, according to the statistics, traffic accidents are up by 25% over the previous year. Georgia records an average of 100 fatalities every month, and at that rate, the total will be at least 1,200 fatalities by the end of the year. If that happens, it would be an increase of 4.6% from 2014. There have been close to 400 traffic accident fatalities in Georgia this year.

Other findings from the 2015 statistics should cause even more alarm. For example, many of the fatalities were not wearing seat belts at the time of the accident. Only 38 % of the motorists involved in fatal accidents were wearing seat belts at the time. In addition, 69% failed to maintain their lanes. These are crucial driving errors that dramatically increase the risk of being killed in an accident.

Even more worrisome is the fact that single-car accidents are on the increase. About 60% of the fatalities involved drivers whose cars crashed into trees, bridges, or other stationary objects. This seems indicative of distracted driving. Causes of serious car accidents vary, but it is likely that many of the drivers and/or passengers in these cases were inattentive, or preoccupied at the time of the accident.

It’s hard to say for certain how many accidents in 2015 were linked to distracted driving. These accidents will result in investigations that will take many months to complete, and therefore, complete information will not be available for many months. However, when an accident involves a car and a stationary object, it is reasonable to assume that the driver was inattentive or distracted by something at the wheel. Other possibilities, however, include defective automobile parts, such as brake or tire failure.

According to the Georgia Department of Transportation statistics, in 2014, out of a total of 8,581 accidents linked to distracted driving, at least 18 were fatal. In 2009, out of 3,454 accidents directly linked to distracted driving, 11 were fatal accidents. That seems to indicate that the proportion of fatal distracted driving accidents is increasing steadily. During that same time, the number of people injured in distracted driving accidents increased by 181%.