GEORGIA (WDEF) – This week is National Traffic Incident Response Awareness week.
Over the course of the Coronavirus pandemic, traffic volumes across the state of Georgia have decreased by 60 percent, according to a new statistic by the Georgia Department of Transportation.
But an alarming statistic is that the number of road fatalities has significantly increased since the pandemic began in March.
The Georgia Department of Transportation says these numbers are likely caused by an increase in speeding, distracted driving, and the lack of wearing seatbelts.
“They are issuing significantly more speeding citations in the 24 MPH above the speed limit category. That is an excessive speed. If you are in an accident at an unsafe speed, you really are limiting your chances of going away and walking home,” says Natalie Dale, Spokesperson for GDOT.
Georgia State Patrol says that the state has already reported 1,297 fatalities from January until now, which is higher than last year’s number of 1269 deaths from the same period.
“Even though the traffic volume is down, that just means vehicles are out there on their own. Instead of driving the speed limit; they are speeding up. One death is too many. If you are speeding, you are just increasing your chances of losing your life or someone else’s, if you are distracted you are just risking your life or someone else’s and if you are not buckled kay the lord be with you,” says Lt. Maurice Raines , Georgia State Patrol
Both GDOT and GSP want to encourage those who plan to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday to leave within plenty of time, be aware of aggressive drivers, and to always wear a seat belt.