Overview

The number of traffic deaths in Georgia dropped for a second straight year, according to the 2018 Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
 
According to NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), Georgia's 1,504 traffic deaths in 2018 represents a 2.3 percent decrease from the 1,540 traffic deaths in 2017. This is the biggest drop in Georgia's traffic deaths since 2012 when the 1,192 traffic deaths was 34 less than the 1,226 in 2011.
    
“It is a good sign the number of traffic deaths in our state has gone down for a second consecutive year, but we are by no means celebrating that more than 1,500 families and friends lost someone in a traffic crash last year in Georgia,” Governor's Office of Highway Safety Director Allen Poole said.  “This report is further proof the Hands-Free Law is working and we need to continue our enforcement and education efforts to get all drivers to comply with the law.”

Another sign of the effectiveness of Georgia's Hands-free law enacted last was drop in passenger vehicle fatalities last year.  There were 994 passenger vehicle fatalities in Georgia in 2018 which is a six percent drop from the 1,056 that happened in 2017.  It is also the first time since 2014 (795) that Georgia recorded less than 1,000 passenger vehicle fatalities.  

The decrease in Georgia matches a similar nationwide decrease last year. According to NHTSA, there were 36,560 traffic deaths nationwide in 2018, which is 2.4 percent less than the 37,473 reported in 2017.

While the total number of Georgia traffic deaths has decreased for two straight years, the number of pedestrian deaths in the state has gone up for a third straight year. There were 261 pedestrian fatalities in 2018, which is eight more than the 253 that occurred in 2017. Pedestrian deaths in Georgia have increased by 60 percent over the last five years.

“Distraction by phone is a major factor in the increase of pedestrian deaths in our state and across the nation,” Poole said.  “We have to continue our efforts to get drivers and pedestrians to keep their eyes on the road and not their phone and to encourage those on foot to always use crosswalks when available and to look before stepping out into the street.”

For a complete breakdown of the 2018 Fatal Traffic Vehicle Crashes report, visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/roadway-fatalities-2018-fars. The report can be found at https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812826.