Stronger GDL, Rear Seat Occupant Laws Could Prevent Car Accident Wrongful Deaths in Georgia

Georgia needs to focus even harder on the safety of rear seat passengers, and enact stronger GDL or Graduated Driver Licensing laws to help prevent more deaths in auto accidents every year.

That information comes from a new report by Advocates for Auto and Highway Safety.  Every year, the organization releases its annual roadmap for auto and highway safety for the coming year.  The 2023 edition of the roadmap was released recently, and states were given separate ratings based on the advancements that they have made in achieving the previous roadmaps’ objectives.  States marked Green are denoted to having made significant progress on enacting laws that are designed to help prevent wrongful deaths in car accidents and other types of auto accidents, while those that have been marked Red have failed to make any progress that can help reduce preventable deaths in accidents every year.  Georgia received a Yellow rating, which recognizes that the state has taken some steps to prevent fatal accidents,  but could be doing more to minimize the number of preventable wrongful deaths in auto accidents every year.

According to the report, over a 10-year period, Georgia saw a total of 14,530 traffic accident facilities.  In 2021, there were a total of 1,806 deaths recorded in auto accidents according to the report. The report also calculates that the annual cost of auto accidents in Georgia is close to 14 billion dollars.

The report does have some praise for Georgia, especially related to the types of laws that it has enacted to help reduce the number of people killed in auto accidents every year. The report makes a special mention of Georgia’s primary enforcement seatbelt law which has contributed significantly to increasing rates of seatbelt use  across the state of Georgia, thereby helping prevent many  car  accident related deaths every year. The state also enacted  all rider motorcycle helmet laws which require both motorcyclists as well as  riders to wear helmets. Georgia’s laws that restrict a motorist’s ability to text while driving help reduce the risk of potentially fatal distracted driving accidents, while stringent booster seat laws help protect child passengers and keep them safe in the event of a crash.

The report also states that more fatalities could be prevented in Georgia every year if the state enacts primary seatbelt enforcement for rear seat passengers as well.  Currently, back seat passengers are not covered under primary seatbelt laws which reduces the likelihood that they will buckle up when traveling. A law that would bring rear seatbelt violations under primary enforcement laws would significantly help push those seatbelt usage numbers higher.

The report also states that changes to Georgia’s graduated driver licensing laws that would place night- time driving restrictions and passenger restrictions on novice drivers would also help reduce the numbers of wrongful deaths in auto accidents.

The Atlanta car crash attorneys at Katz Personal Injury Lawyers are dedicated to the representation of persons injured in car accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia.  If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a car accident, talk to a lawyer at our firm and determine if you have legal options to a claim for damages.   You may be eligible for compensation that includes medical expenses, lost income and other types of damages.  Talk to an attorney at our firm and discuss your case.

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