Atlanta – The number of fatalities on Georgia highways fell again in 2013, the eighth straight year traffic crash deaths in the state have declined. The Georgia Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) announced today that there were 1,186 persons killed as a result of crashes on state roads last year. That total is 13 less than in 2012 and 562 fewer than 2005’s record of 1,748.
“The reduction in fatalities over eight years means that more than 500 additional persons will get to celebrate the life events that are special to us all,” GOHS Director Harris Blackwood noted. “Each number represents a family that has been spared from the horror of learning that a loved one has been killed in a motor vehicle crash. We must continue to work toward reducing injuries and death on Georgia roads.”
Georgia DOT Commissioner Keith Golden noted an array of efforts by Blackwood’s agency and his own department’s Traffic Operations Office are constantly being refined and employed to improve highway safety and reduce fatalities, injuries and crashes. Roundabout intersections, center median cable barriers, rumble strips, more reflective signage and striping, traffic signal synchronization and more pedestrian accommodations are among the Department’s efforts. Its Strategic Highway Safety Plan is a data-driven program focusing on key initiatives that can be attained through what Commissioner Golden calls the four E’s – education, engineering, enforcement and emergency medical services. “We are gratified by the continuing progress of these efforts,” Golden commented.
Final national fatality statistics for 2013 are not yet finalized; those numbers had increased 5 percent in 2012 to approximately 36,200 deaths.
In Georgia, notable reductions were recorded last year in fatalities among motorcyclists (down 21 to a total of 110) and also those on local streets and roads (a decline from 557 in 2012 to 523).
Continuing areas of concern are bicyclists, which increased from 19 to 26 deaths and pedestrians - up 11 for the year to 178. Georgia DOT’s “Complete Streets” policy was put in place last year and is aimed in part to help reduce these incidents. “Complete Streets is a long-term, broad initiative to design and build our transportation infrastructure in a way that best serves all of its users, be they drivers, bicyclists or pedestrians,” Department Chief Engineer Russell McMurry noted. “Growing segments of the population using our system, especially in metropolitan areas, are cyclists and walkers. The system must accommodate and protect them.”