Officials: Highway fatalities declining in Georgia

Georgia’s highway death toll fell sharply in 2010 for the fifth consecutive year, according to both the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), and the National Highway Safety Administration.

GDOT Spokesman David Spear said data published this month show that a total of 1,244 highway fatalities occurred in Georgia last year, a drop of 3.7 percent, or 48 deaths, from 2009.

These numbers showcase an improving trend that started in 2006, he said.

“While we wish no one was ever even injured on our highways, we are most gratified by this decline in fatalities,” added GDOT Commissioner Keith Golden. “This dramatic improvement is a direct result of the department’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan begun in 2006.”

He said the plan highlights data-driven emphasis areas concentrating on things such as affordable engineering solutions, enforcement, motorcycle safety, seatbelt use, and impaired driving.

GDOT is focusing on public awareness, as well as engineering and construction enhancements, said Golden. This includes better roadway drainage, center median cable barriers, rumble strips, and driver recovery zones — making a difference on highways and saving lives.

Spokesman Spear said hundreds of GDOT employees and contractors work on numerous highway-, bridge-and-intersection improvements. Their jobs may bring them and heavy machinery close to travel lanes, he explained.

There have been 57 GDOT personnel, along with a high number of motorists, passengers, and contractors, who’ve been killed in highway work-zone accidents since 1973.

Officials reiterated that motorists can prevent these tragedies by slowing down, driving responsibly, paying close attention, and using extreme caution when passing through construction work zones.

For more information, visit: www.dot.ga.gov.