Since March 2020 and the onset of COVID-19, traffic volumes in Georgia have been down from as much as 60 percent early in the pandemic to approximately 10 percent at present. In the last two months, traffic volumes on rural state routes have returned to essentially normal levels.
However, although traffic has been down, fatalities on Georgia roadways are up. This disturbing trend endangers the safety of motorists and is likely due to several factors including increased speeds, distracted driving and lack of seatbelt use.
As of Nov. 15, Georgia DOT’s Office of Traffic Operations reports 1,326 lives lost statewide on all routes. Excessive speed appears to be one of several contributing factors.
Percentage of speeding citations for speeds 24 mph or more over the posted speed limit (March 1 – July 15):
- 2019: 15%
- 2020: 23.7%
*Source: Department of Public Safety to include the Georgia State Patrol, the Motor Carrier Compliance Division and the Capitol Police Division.
More than ever, motorists must avoid distracted driving behaviors behind the wheel.
- 76% of fatalities in crashes are caused by unsafe driving behaviors, including distractions, impairment or driving too fast for conditions.
- Roadway departure fatalities up 28 percent to date versus 2019
- Lane departure fatalities up 12 percent to date versus 2019
- 60% of victims were not wearing seatbelts or it was unknown if they were wearing seatbelts and that continues thus far in 2020.
Public awareness of the consequences of excessive speed and distracted driving is critical. Safety is the top priority for Georgia DOT. We are committed to preserving the safety of all travelers on our roadways through educational initiatives, preventative measures and programs.