In 2018, Georgia lawmakers passed House Bill 673, aka the Hands-Free Georgia Act, prohibiting motorists from handling cell phones or other electronic devices while driving. They hoped that it would help lower Atlanta traffic accidents and crashes in other areas of the state. Now the data is in—and it turns out that the law has made quite a difference.
According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, traffic accident fatalities are down some 7% across Georgia. It’s fantastic news and helps shore up the notion that distracted driving truly does kill.
Unfortunately, the new bill doesn’t mean that Atlanta motorists can rest easy. There are plenty of other reasons that collisions occur. And of course, there are always going to be people who don’t obey the law.
Let’s take a closer look at the numbers and at the steps you should take after any type of accident.
Atlanta Traffic Accidents: The Numbers at a Glance
Atlanta traffic is notorious not just here in Georgia but around the country. Congestion and road rage on our highways are continuing problems, and there are no easy answers.
The most recent year for which accident statistics have been released is 2017. In that year, there were a total of 58,581 accidents in Fulton County. Some 17,947 injuries were reported as a result of those accidents.
How do those numbers compare from previous years? In 2016, the county saw 60,984 total accidents. More people were hurt that year as well, with 18,505 injuries reported.
In addition, almost every type of traffic fatality decreased between 2016 and 2017. Fatal accidents involving motorcyclists, alcohol use, speeding, and pedestrians were all lower in 2017 than in the previous year. Only in one category, pedal cyclists, did the fatalities increase.
After an Accident In Atlanta or Anywhere
Are you a commuter in the greater Atlanta metro area? Or do you come here occasionally to shop, visit the many wonderful entertainment venues, or take part in cultural activities? Maybe you’re a suburban Mom driving her children to extracurricular lessons and sports practices.
No matter how often you drive around the city or where you go, it’s important to understand what steps to take in the unfortunate event that an accident takes place.
Stop and Assess the Situation
It’s the law. If you are caught leaving the scene of an accident, whether or not it is your fault, you will face serious consequences. So if a crash occurs, stop your car, see if anyone has been hurt, and call the authorities.
People sometimes worry about calling 911 if the accident isn’t serious or doesn’t seem to have resulted in injuries. Don’t worry about that. Dial 911 and let the dispatcher make decisions based on the information you provide.
In some cases, an ambulance or fire truck will be dispatched along with law enforcement. Trust that the authorities know who to send.
Don’t Point Fingers or Argue
Tempers can flare when the traffic backs up, and even a minor fender-bender could turn into a brawl if people can’t control their anger. It’s crucial to avoid engaging with the other driver or passengers. Even if they were clearly at fault, even if you were minding your own business when their car impacted yours, don’t engage.
If the other party tries to blame you or pick a fight, stay inside your vehicle with the windows rolled up and wait for help to arrive.
Get Yourself Checked Out by a Doctor
If the ambulance is dispatched, let the paramedics and EMTs look you over. You might feel fine, but there’s no harm in getting a quick exam. Again, these are the professionals, so you should trust them. In the event that the EMTs want to take you to the hospital, it is important to cooperate.
When an accident is minor and the ambulance does not come, it’s still a good idea to get yourself checked out by your primary care physician or another medical professional. You can go to an urgent care center for this if you don’t have a PCP.
Visiting the doctor and seeking a checkup is important for your case if you decide to pursue legal action against another party. It’s also good to have for your defense if they file for damages against you! Get documentation of your physical condition to be on the safe side.
See an Attorney for a Consultation
Similarly, don’t hesitate to visit with an Atlanta accident attorney once the dust has settled a little bit and you’re feeling up to it.
Attorneys who are experienced in dealing with car crashes can be a great source of advice. They’re also excellent to have on your side when dealing with the insurance company. Sometimes the paperwork that you have to file for a claim is confusing, so it never hurts to have professional help.
One concern that some accident victims have is that simply by seeing a lawyer, they will be incurring costs that they might not ever recoup. But that’s simply not the case.
A consultation to discuss your situation and your options will be free of charge. There won’t be any obligation to take matters to a court of law, either. The attorney will only choose to represent you if they think there is an excellent chance at winning you a settlement.
Atlanta Drivers Have Options
You can lower your risk of being involved in one of the thousands of Atlanta traffic accidents each year. Don’t drive unless you have to. Take public transportation or walk. We are lucky to have some wonderful, walkable neighborhoods here, and it’s good for your health!
When you do take the car, don’t drive distracted, drunk, or under the influence of any drugs. Stick to the speed limit, stay aware of your surroundings, and be kind to your fellow motorists.
If an accident occurs despite your best efforts at safe driving, give the attorneys at Bader Scott a call. We have a deep understanding of the physical and emotional impact a car accident can have, and we’ll be by your side every step of the way.
Seth Bader is an Auto accident, Workers Compensation and Personal Injury Attorney who practices in Atlanta, Rome, Savannah, Norcross, Carrollton, Georgia. He graduated from Florida State University College of Law, and has been practicing law for 14 years. Seth Bader believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.