A report from the U.S. Department of Transportation finds fatalities rose 12 percent from 2020 to 2021 nationwide.
This is the largest increase ever recorded since the department began tracking rates in the ’70s.
Georgia’s fatality rate was just over the national average at 12.2 percent.
Driver behavior has grown increasingly worse during the pandemic, Natalie Dale with GDOT said. He also said law enforcement has reported higher speeds on state roads.
Additionally, about 40 percent of fatalities reported were not wearing a seatbelt.
Dale also said most problems stemmed from lane departures, when a driver may shift into a lane or off a road, due to distracted driving.
“In order for us to get to a place where we’re decreasing in fatalities, it has to be a partnership with both us designing safe roads and taking into account the multiple users of our roads – whether it’s motorists, pedestrians, bicycles – that we all take responsibility for safety,” said Dale.
In Atlanta, poor driver behavior seemed to have the most dangerous effect on pedestrians. The city reported an 88 percent rise in pedestrian fatalities involving a vehicle.
How to prevent distracted driving?
What drivers can do: Do not multitask while driving. Whether it’s adjusting your mirrors, picking the music, eating a sandwich, making a phone call, or reading an email―do it before or after your trip, not during.
What passengers can do: Speak up if you are a passenger in a car with a distracted driver. Ask the driver to focus on driving. Reduce distractions for the driver by assisting with navigation or other tasks.
Defensive driving participants learn about the current rules of the road and how to operate their vehicles more safely in today’s increasingly challenging driving environment.
- Maintaining proper following distance
- Minimizing the effect of dangerous blind spots
Limiting driver distractions such as eating, smoking, and cell phone use
- Properly using safety belts, airbags, and all car features
- Effects of medications on driving
- Maintaining physical flexibility
- Monitoring the driving skills and capabilities of yourself and others
There is a lot of very useful and informative information offered in our classes and it will apply whether you have been driving for years or you are a brand new driver!