The Georgia Department of Transportation ("GA DOT") issued a report in 2008, Crash Statistics, Analysis and Information Notebook 2008, that delved into the statistics about car accidents in Georgia. I am a lawyer handling Lawrenceville car wreck cases and car accident cases from around Georgia, and I have been blogging about this GA DOT report.
Yesterday I mentioned the fact that the statistics unexpectedly show that fatal car accidents are more likely to occur in rural Georgia than in metro Atlanta counties, or around the municipal areas of Albany and Leesburg, Athens, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, and Savannah, and the northeastern corner of our state, which is near Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The 2008 GA DOT report.pdf suggested several reasons why people in a car accident are more likely to be killed in car accident in Rabun County, Georgia, which the DOT considered one of our state's rural county, than in Fulton County, Georgia. These factors increased the risk of death from car accident generally, and many of these conditions are more likely to occur on rural roads.
1. It appears that the rural roads themselves are the reason why there are so many more deaths in car crashes in rural Georgia. Of the car wrecks in which people were killed, three out of four of the fatal crashes occurred on Georgia two-way roads that did not have any separation or barrier. Roads in the Atlanta metro areas, and in other municipal areas, are much more likely to have multiple lanes and medians. Georgia's rural roads may not.
2. More people are killed in a crash when the vehicle leaves the road. The absolute greatest risk of death or injury occurs when a vehicle either overturns or crashes into a fixed object. Worse, the number of rollover crashes increased dramatically, by 41.2%, between 2000 to 2006. Rural roads are less likely to have a shoulder, and so a car can leave the road more easily.
3. The risk of crashing is much greater when a road has a horizontal curve. "In 2006, one out of two fatal off road crashes happened on a curve although straight roadway segments far outnumber curved roadway segments." Many of the roads in rural Georgia are curvy.
4. A full 1/3 of fatal crashes occur on off-system roads, and "almost all" of these car accidents in which people died happened on two-way roads without any separation (see first point, above), and 62% were on horizontal curves (see point 3 above).
5. Not surprisingly, car wrecks in intersections are quite dangerous. ¼ of all the fatal car crashes in Georgia occur at an intersection. Of these car accidents at intersections, 60% occurred at an intersection without any traffic control. Of these four categories, "the highest number of fatal intersection crashes occurred in rural counties."
6. Crashes that occur at an angle are more likely to be fatal. The GA DOT defines angle wrecks as wrecks where one vehicle is turning and another vehicle hits it from the side. Not surprisingly, then, most intersection car accidents are angle wrecks, and 61% of the deaths in vehicle collisions at intersections involved angle wrecks. 25.2% of the deaths in car wrecks occur when the auto crash happens at an angle. Of the fatal crashes between 2000 and 2006, 2618 of them involved automobile wrecks that occurred at an angle.