Distracted driving and not wearing a seatbelt: simply unacceptable

| February 15, 2016
By Chad Hartley, GDOT District Engineer
District 4, Southwest Ga.

Chad Hartley 3.2015Tragically for countless families across Georgia, 2016 will not be a happy new year. That’s because someone they love died in a traffic crash last year. Or will die in a crash this year. A crash that in many cases is preventable.

Drivers – now more than ever – are not focused on driving. They are driving distracted – talking on the phone, texting, using GPS or doing other things. In fact, 47 percent of roadway fatalities in Georgia last year resulted from a single vehicle crash. The main cause appears to be distracted driving. And distracted driving kills.

For the nine years from 2005 to 2014, Georgia saw consistent reductions in annual roadway fatalities. While just one death is tragic, in 2014 we were down to 1,170 deaths. The downward trend reversed in early 2015 and, even with the introduction of the DriveAlert ArriveAlive campaign, 2015 ended with 1,414 fatalities. That’s 244 more than 2014 – the first annual increase in Georgia in a decade. And a substantial rise at that – 21 percent.

Here in District Four in southwest Georgia, we saw 135 deaths due to crashes in 2015. That’s one more than in 2014. While our district had the lowest increase of any district in Georgia, we still lost many lives. And it is unacceptable.

DriveAlert ArriveAlive is a serious effort to alert the public to the surge in preventable traffic fatalities and to encourage simple changes in driving behavior. The goal is to turn the tide on these crashes and fatalities, and to lessen the outcome in the event of a crash. Just like drinking and driving has become socially unacceptable, the campaign aims to make texting and driving objectionable as well.

DriveAlert ArriveAlive implores drivers to take responsibility for their driving behavior…
Buckle up … just 43 percent of fatality victims are identified as wearing seatbelts
Stay off the phone and no texting … 74 percent of fatalities are attributed to driver behavior
Drive alert … do not drive drowsy or under the influence of drugs or alcohol

How are your New Year’s resolutions coming along? How about making a new one to DriveAlert ArriveAlive?

Buckle up, and don’t text and drive. This simple resolution could save your life, the life of your child, or the life of a stranger.

Help stop preventable crashes and deaths by taking responsibility for your driving behavior. Be the driver you want your kids to be. By setting an example, not only will they be safer when they’re in the car with you, they’ll also be safer drivers.

This year, take the DriveAlert ArriveAlive pledge. Visit www.dot.ga.gov/DAAA.

Now that’s a resolution worth keeping.

The DriveAlert ArriveAlive campaign is a partnership between the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) and the Georgia Department of Public Safety (DPS). www.dot.ga.gov/DAAA. #ArriveAliveGA

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