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More Accident Fatalities Result from Highway Defects Than Speeding, Alcohol

A report by a transportation development advocacy group says that the country could save more than $200 billion from automobile accidents if it invests in better highway design, maintenance and repairs.

The Washington Post has this interesting report about how road-related conditions are responsible for more than half of the 42,000 accident-related deaths that occur each year. Contrary to popular perception, it’s poorly positioned utility poles, steep curves, road obstructions and other hazards that contribute to the most number of accident-related deaths in the country- not drunk driving, speeding or failure to wear seatbelts.

Consider this:

  • Failure to wear seatbelts cost the economy $59.6 billion in 2006 in medical expenses, insurance payouts and other accident-related costs.
  • Speeding-linked accidents cost the economy $97.1 billion the same year.
  • Alcohol-related accident cost the economy $129.7 billion.
  • Deaths occurring from road condition-related accidents, in comparison, cost a staggering $217.5 billion.

However, accident fatality prevention efforts in Georgia and around the country tend to focus heavily on drunk driving, speeding and failure to wear seatbelts. The report makes strong recommendations for highway improvements that can greatly reduce the number of such fatalities. These improvements include widening highway shoulders, redesigning crooked roads, installing road signs that are easy for motorists to read, installation of rumble strips and guardrails and other measures.

According to the report, measures like these could actually save 22,000 lives every year. This would mean greater savings to the economy in terms of medical costs and other expenses.

These are definitely efforts that are worth making to prevent the kind of serious automobile accidents that result in deaths. In Georgia, the government has already kicked off several highway construction and repair projects with the stimulus funds it began receiving earlier this year.That’s enough reason for us Georgia car accident lawyers to be optimistic that those staggering figures will soon change.