As Georgia car accident lawyers, we represent victims of automobile accidents, not just in the metro Atlanta area, but across the state. This includes rural areas in Georgia. That is why it‘s deeply concerning to us to see that rural Georgians continue to be at a higher risk of fatal accidents, than their city counterparts.
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were more fatal accidents on back roads on rural areas in 2008, than in the urban areas. In 2008, there were 700 fatal crashes in rural areas in Georgia, compared to 687 on urban roads or main highways.
According to law enforcement officers, a large number of accidents on back roads seem to involve speeding. These narrow back roads in the country are not meant for high speeds. Rural roads also may come with dangerously sharp curves and road signs that are old and worn out. When you add to that a driver who may be distracted talking on the cell phone or driving at high speeds, an accident is almost expected.
In Georgia, law enforcement faces unique challenges keeping those fatality rates down. Rural roads tend to see a lot of pickup truck traffic. Pickup drivers continue to be the only group of motorists in the state that is exempt from mandatory seatbelt laws. Statistics show that the lack of a law requiring pickup drivers to buckle up, had led to lowered seatbelt usage rates for these drivers. The consequences are easy to understand. These drivers are at a much higher risk of being killed in accident.
It’s also a fact that road maintenance activities tend to be concentrated in the urban areas and busy highways. The result is clear to see in many of Georgia’s back roads. Many of these roads are missing several features that could prevent serious accidents, like guardrails.
As Georgia personal injury lawyers, we find that there is something very perverse about having a higher risk of being killed in an accident if you happen to meet with one in rural Georgia. These people continue to suffer because of limited access to trauma centers, most of which are concentrated in and around the metro Atlanta area. The Georgia Department of Transportation must work together with the USDOT to develop programs to minimize the number of deaths that occur on our rural roads.