Climate change has been in the news for years now regarding its effects on weather related tragedies. From eroding coastlines, rising poverty levels and soaring temperatures -climate change is blamed for an entire range of global disasters. Every region on the globe, including Georgia, has seen dramatic shifts in its weather. However, could these changes in weather also be linked to increasing highway accident fatality numbers?
It appears that they could. Traffic safety experts have been trying to understand why road accident fatality numbers have been increasing since 2015, after several decades of a downward trend in fatality numbers. Earlier, safety experts focused on increasing rates of cell phone use by motorists as the leading factor causing this increase. However, they were later able to debunk that theory because there was no increase in smartphone use during the period of time that they studied. They then changed their focus to another possible factor-the weather.
Temperature increases are likely to be at least partly the reason why we are seeing an increase in the number of people dying in traffic accidents. Warmer weather simply means more people out on the road. People drive, walk, bicycle and ride their motorcycles more in warmer weather, than in wet or snowy weather. The experts found in their analysis that pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists – people who are much more likely to be out walking, riding or bicycling during warmer weather – accounted for a large percentage of traffic accident fatality fatalities during the study period.