Law enforcement agencies in the state have launched a campaign to encourage seatbelt use among Georgia drivers to prevent serious accident-related injuries, especially those occurring on rural roads. It is a shift from previous efforts that focused such enforcement in urban centers, and it has to do with the dismal picture of seatbelt use in rural areas.
According to Governor’s Office of Highway Safety deputy director Spencer Moore, rural roads are some of the most dangerous ones, but seat belt usage here is much lower than in urban centers. In 2008, drivers in urban areas in the state were 84 percent likely to buckle up, while in rural areas, that percentage was 79. The discrepancy in seatbelt usage in urban and rural areas is clear to see in the accident fatality rates in these regions. In 2007, 342 people died in automobile accidents in the five metro Atlanta counties. During the same period of time, 527 died in accidents in Georgia’s most rural counties.
Seatbelts save lives. While those higher fatality rates on rural roads may have to do with other causal factors like a shortage of trauma centers in these areas, seatbelts can prevent the kind of critical injuries that result after serious accidents.
The seatbelt campaign, which will both encourage motorists to buckle up as well as enforce existing seatbelt laws, is relying on the slogan “Georgia is Buckle Up Country”. The state’s “Click it or Ticket” campaign will drill that message home in rural areas, where motorists tend to drive slower and may underestimate the need for seatbelts. The campaign will run through Memorial Day, and law enforcement officers promise they will be liberal with the tickets. Officers will be patrolling the main roads as well as back roads during the summer, when driving traffic tends to be intense.
It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that the simple act of fastening a seatbelt can prevent serious injuries in an accident. With summer almost upon us and people ready to travel on holiday, the seatbelt campaign looks set for success. As Atlanta car accident lawyers, we would like to add their voice to the campaign – Buckle up, Georgia. It could save your life.