Atlanta Traffic Grows More Fatal

Atlanta is known for having terrible traffic.

Prior to COVID-19, Atlanta was ranked 7th in the country for its traffic and is often ranked in the top 20 globally.  Even though the pandemic has decreased the number of accidents in Metro Atlanta, the number of deaths because of car accidents has increased.

The preliminary figures released by the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety showed that there were 1,615 traffic accident deaths in the state of Georgia in 2020.  That was the highest total on record since 2007 when there were 1,641 facilities recorded.  It was also a significant increase from the figures in 2019 when the state recorded a total of 1,491 deaths in traffic accidents.

It’s important to remember that these are preliminary figures, and the total numbers are very likely to increase as the agency continues to confirm the number of traffic accident deaths across the state last year.  The majority of accident deaths in 2020 occurred on state roads and highways.

The authorities have not yet released the breakdown of fatalities by cause of the accident, age of victims, and other factors.  However, 2020 seems to have been an extremely dangerous year for pedestrians.  The number of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents increased by a staggering 400% in 2020. There were 12 pedestrian deaths that occurred in 2020 in the entire state of Georgia, compared to just 3 fatalities the previous year.


The Deadliest Roads for Driving

The most dangerous road in Georgia is I-20 in Atlanta at mile marker 44. Other sections making the top 20 include several stretches along I-75 and I-85.

In addition, dangerous roads that you should be aware of include:

  • Lee Street SW
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Drive SW, and
  • Old National Highway.
That said, the most dangerous intersections in the Atlanta metro area include:
  • Memorial Drive and N. Hairston Road in Stone Mountain
  • East Park Place and Stone Mountain Highway in Stone Mountain
  • Covington Highway and Panola Road in Lithonia
  • Cobb Place Blvd. and Ernest Barrett Parkway in Kennesaw, and
  • Jimmy Carter Blvd. and Peachtree Industrial Blvd. in Norcross.

What are the risks of rush hour driving?

When you’re already in a hurry, being pushed further behind creates added pressure that often pushes drivers to engage in behavior that endangers others on the road.  People are sitting so they become more easily distracted while waiting for traffic to flow.  When it begins to move and you aren’t right on top of things, other drivers can become impatient and try to get around you. Maybe someone keeps cutting cars off while lane hopping every time another one begins to move.

Rush hour is the cause of 25% of all traffic accidents because:
  • Drivers fail to build adequate time into their commutes to account for delays. You can’t predict everything that may hold you up but if you know that routinely you’ll sit on the Connector for an extra 15 minutes, leave 15-20 minutes earlier each day rather than seeing if today is the day you’ll beat the odds.  Failing to do so ends up causing anxiety which leads to dangerous driving.
  • You always take the same congested route rather than a slightly longer but steady-flowing path. For some people, the rage that comes with the rush hour is really just sitting still or moving at inconsistent speeds.  Give yourself a calmer start to the day by taking another route to work that may be longer in distance but continues to move along.
  • People tailgate the person ahead of them. When the car ahead of you slams on his or her brakes because traffic has stopped once again, you’re in prime position for causing a rear-end collision.  Trucks that tailgate is extremely negligent given they know they require much more time and distance to stop than the average passenger vehicle.

Staying Safe on Atlanta Roads

Remember, intersections are inherently dangerous, particularly during high-traffic times, such as rush hour.  This is true not only for motorists but also for cyclists and pedestrians.  Stay alert, as Atlanta drivers have been known to:

  • Run stop signs
  • Ignore red lights
  • Speed
  • Drive distracted
  • Drive without headlights
  • Fail to yield, and
  • Otherwise, fail to follow the rules of the road.

Because of these potential dangers, it’s always best to drive defensively.  Don’t assume that other drivers will yield the right of way or stop for pedestrians.  If possible, avoid the busiest roads during rush hour.  Further, make sure that you are not contributing to roadway hazards by driving aggressively or exceeding posted speed limits.

You should always wear your seatbelt. In fact, traffic fatality statistics show that you are far more likely to be killed in an accident if you are not buckled up.

Staying Safe on as a Pedestrian

Officials believe that distracted driving is to blame for these high numbers. In particular, it’s the use of cell phones while operating a vehicle.  This causes the driver to fail to see a pedestrian crossing the road and leads to an accident.  However, this is just speculation rather than a known fact.

Keep in mind that 75% of fatal accidents involving pedestrians occur after dark.  In addition, 60% occur in a local street or on state highways, not on the interstate or county roads.  Alcohol is often involved, both among drivers and pedestrians.  Specifically, 32% of pedestrians and 17% of drivers had a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of at least 0.08 at the time of the accident.

However, the vast majority of pedestrian fatalities (72%) do not occur in intersections. Additionally, for fatalities that happened on an interstate, most occurred while the motorist was standing outside their vehicle.  Possibly, while waiting for a tow truck to arrive or while changing a flat tire.  If you are able to wait inside your car when stopped on the interstate, try to do so or get off of the roadway completely.


What to Do If You Are In an Accident 

That said, if you are involved in a collision, the first step is to seek medical attention right away. Make sure that you receive a thorough medical evaluation.  This is for both your own safety and for the purposes of building a case if necessary.

The next step is to gather as much information about the accident as you can. This would include:

  • The contact information of other drivers and potential witnesses
  • Insurance information
  • License plate numbers, and
  • Make and model of vehicles involved.

You should also try to document the accident as best as you can.  This would include taking photographs of any property damage and injuries and writing down your recollection of the events.

Contact Law Office of Julie M. Essa

If you are hurt in an accident, our attorneys are able to help.  We have dealt with accidents of all kinds– car, truck, motorcycle, and pedestrian. Atlanta traffic is will continue to get more dangerous, but we will always be here to help you get the help you need to recover from your accident.