There are many reasons to love Atlanta, from the nightlife to the low cost of living to the thriving music scene. As any local will attest, however, the traffic is not one of them. Unfortunately, the trouble with our roads goes far beyond congestion into the realm of a serious public health hazard.
As of 2015, Georgia had the fourth highest incidence of fatal car accidents nationwide, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That puts Georgia behind only by the three most populous states: California, Texas, and Florida.
The Atlanta area itself bears the worst of this state-wide problem, a problem which has only been worsening in recent years. According to a 2012-2016 report by the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Fulton County has consistently been the site of the more traffic fatalities than any other county in Georgia, with 129 deaths in 2016 alone.
What Makes the Roads so Risky?
While Georgia’s high rate of traffic fatalities is often attributed to the Port of Savannah and the state’s general status as a major trucking hub, large trucks played a role in less than 13% of all Georgia road fatalities in 2015.
By contrast, alcohol use played a role twice that many, while speeding played a role in 18%, and lack of proper seatbelt usage may have contributed to as much as 50%. Drivers can protect themselves and their loved ones to some extent by using seatbelts and following all applicable laws, but a single reckless or careless driver can often become an unavoidable hazard to everyone else on the road.
The Cost of Traffic Accidents
On top of the obvious loss of life, Fulton County was host to 12,875 injuries from traffic accidents in 2016 — almost one hundred times the number of traffic-related deaths. Injuries incurred in traffic accidents can impact the rest of a survivor’s life and commonly include:
- Open wounds
- Damage to the internal organs
- Damage to the spinal cord, up to and including paralysis.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates an average initial medical cost of $3,362 for patients with injuries minor enough to be treated in the emergency room. That estimate rises to $56,674 for those who require hospital admission. Add to this the likelihood of necessary follow-up treatment and lost productivity, and the actual cost for survivors can become staggering.
What to Do If You’ve Been Affected
If you’ve been involved in a traffic accident, whether as a motorist or a pedestrian, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. You may have internal injuries you might not be aware of right away.
Once your immediate needs are taken care of, however, you’ll need to consider the long-term effects. If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence on the road, the Stoddard Firm can help. Give us a call or contact us online for a free consultation.