Although traffic safety laws alone are not enough to eliminate car accidents, they are certainly an important step in that direction. Driving laws and regulations give police the tools they need to hold unsafe drivers accountable, and they send an important message about the priority given to traffic safety in a given state.
Unfortunately, the attitude of safety that Georgia’s traffic laws suggest is lukewarm, at best. That’s according to an annual report rating each state on whether it has enacted a group of about 16 laws that have been proven to reduce traffic accidents, injuries and fatalities. In this year’s report, Georgia was among about 30 states flagged as “needing improvement.”
The report, released by a group called Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety, examines safety laws in five categories. They include:
- Occupant protection (primarily seat belt and helmet laws)
- Child passenger safety (including car seat laws for infants)
- Teen driving (specifically related to graduated driver licensing requirements)
- Impaired driving
- Distracted driving
Our state’s biggest area of weakness, according to the report, is related to graduated driver licensing programs. Our provisions need improvement when it comes to passenger restrictions, nighttime driving restrictions, supervised driving requirements, minimum age to obtain learner’s permit and cellphone restrictions for teen drivers.
Georgia also lost points for failing to require seat belts on adults riding in the back seat and failing to require rear-facing car seats for infants under age two.
These recommendations may seem abstract or unnecessary, but the report attempts to make the benefits more tangible by quantifying the costs of traffic accidents in each state. Over a 10-year period, for instance, a reported 13,317 lives were lost in fatal crashes on Georgia roads (1,504 of which occurred in 2018 alone). Each year, auto accidents result in $10.787 billion in economic costs statewide.
As mentioned above, traffic safety measures are necessary, but they will not solve the problem entirely. Every driver has a duty to behave safely behind the wheel. If you’ve been seriously injured in a crash caused by a negligent driver, please contact our firm to discuss your rights and legal options.