Deadly car crashes on the rise in Georgia, distracted driving is one reason

According to some statistics, at least one in three of drivers is likely distracted by their phones.
Published: Apr. 16, 2023 at 7:28 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 17, 2023 at 3:22 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The number of deadly crashes in Georgia has doubled over the last nine years, according to new data from the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The increase is due to more people driving recklessly, impaired and distracted. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Nearly 500 people were killed in car crashes in Georgia in 2022. That’s almost 100 more than in 2021. Distracted driving is one of the biggest reasons for the increase in crashes.

According to some statistics, at least one in three drivers is likely distracted by their phones.

“I think it’s just as serious as DUIs and stuff like that. I think being on your phones is just as impactful if not more than DUIs and things like that,” Josiah Hanniford, Newnan, Ga. resident, said.

Statistics state that more than 3,000 teens die each year in crashes that involve texting and driving. That is why one Albany resident is taking precautions before getting her permit.

“I would say for those that have been impacted by distracted driving, I would say don’t use your phone and wait until you get to your designated area to answer a phone or text message,” Jazmine Milledge, Albany Resident, said.

Georgia is a hands-free state, meaning drivers can’t hold their phones while driving. But some believe phone mounts can also be distracting.

“People get the car or phone mounts. I have one, but I would say that they are more distracting than just putting your phone down. I personally wouldn’t get one to be honest with you,” Hanniford said.

Distracted driving crashes can be tough to prosecute. In 2019, Dougherty County resident Cathy Hubbard’s husband and son were killed by a suspected distracted driver. The suspect still hasn’t gone to trial.

Georgia is one of only 31 states with a hands-free law. The fine for a first citation is $50 and 1 point against your record. Still, many states have tougher penalties.