A leading non-profit traffic safety advocacy group says that Georgia could do a much better job of protecting motorists and other people on our roads and preventing accidents by implementing key changes to the existing laws.
According to Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a non-profit organization, 1,491 persons were killed in traffic accidents on Georgia roads in 2019. Around 13,525 people were killed in traffic accidents in the state over a decade-long period. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety in its Roadmap for State Highway Safety Laws report says that the total cost of traffic accidents in Georgia has been more than 10 billion dollars. The 2021 roadmaps report identifies the areas in which Georgia has succeeded in keeping motorists safe, and suggests areas of improvement that could further help reduce accident and fatality rates in the state.
The report is very appreciative of Georgia’s seat belt laws that allow for primary enforcement. Primary enforcement means that a police officer can pull a motorist over and cite him for failure to wear a seatbelt even if he does not notice any other violations. However, the primary enforcement law applies to motorists and front seat passengers only, and not to rear seat passengers. The report recommends that Georgia implement primary enforcement seat belt laws even for back seat passengers. Georgia’s motorcycle helmet laws that apply to all riders as well as the state’s booster seat were commended, however the report recommended mandating children remain in rear facing booster seats until the age of two.
However, the report recommends that Georgia implement stronger restrictions for novice drivers, including a setting of 18 as a minimum age for an unrestricted license. The report suggests that Georgia could reduce the number of people being killed in accidents if it implements stronger passenger and night-time restrictions for people who do not have an unrestricted license. The report recommends a setting of 16 as a minimum age for a learner’s license, and increasing the supervised driving requirement for new drivers. Cell phone restrictions for learner’s license holders should also be tightened.
Drunk driving kills or injures thousands of people every year. The report recommends that ignition interlock laws apply to all DUI offenders and the enactment of stricter open container laws. The law currently only requires people who have been convicted of a repeat DUI offense to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles. The report recommends that all DUI offenders be required to have ignition interlock devices installed in their cars.
All of these recommendations are sound ones, and could really help reduce the number of persons killed in traffic accidents involving drunk and distracted driving in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia every year. These recommendations, if implemented, would also reduce crash risks involving teen or novice drivers.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in the metro Atlanta region or anywhere in Georgia, talk to an Atlanta car accident lawyer at the Katz Law Firm and discuss your legal options to a claim for damages. You might qualify for damages that include medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering and other damages.