ATLANTA - It’s been a dangerous and deadly year on roadways in Georgia. This comes as 2020 saw the highest number of fatalities since 2017.
"What we are anticipating is that we will be experiencing our first increase in fatalities in Georgia since 2017," Natalie Dale said.
The Georgia Department of Transportation reported 2020 was a deadly year on the roadways.
As of December, the state reported 1,600 deaths on the roadways. Compare that to 1,491 in 2019 and 994 in 2018.
"This isn’t a youth thing, this isn’t a problem for the elderly. It’s everybody. Every age range and road in Georgia saw an increase. Every transportation group from bikers to pedestrians and motorist," Dale said.
Many are wondering how the numbers drastically increased when the number of people on the roads was lower because of quarantine.
"When the roads were empty people really took that as an initiation to drive however they wanted to," Dale said.
Dale said many accidents were caused by driver error.
"What we are looking at is personal responsibility things and things that could have easily been avoided. Things like speeding, texting behind the wheel, and impairment," Dale explained.
Dale said many drivers forget the basics like buckling up no matter where you’re going.
"I think we take for granted you get in your car and put your seatbelt on but not everyone does that. Seatbelt usage is a huge contributing factor. You are far more likely to survive an accident with your seatbelt on than not," Dale said.
The number is expected to grow beyond 1,600 as local agencies are about three months delayed in reporting crashes.
Dale and her team hope this is a wake-up call for those getting on the roads.
"The roadway is a community. When you get on the road you are a part of a community. It is up to all of us to make responsible decisions that benefit the community," Dale said.
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