The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety has published some sobering statistics about the car and truck accidents in DeKalb County.
The report grouped all of the cities that are at least partly in DeKalb County, including Sandy Springs, Doraville, Atlanta, Norcross, Tucker, Stone Mountain, and of course, Decatur, Panthersville and Redan, which are wholly in DeKalb County.
Although it appears that DeKalb County has fewer accidents than it did five years ago, the number of deaths in car accidents has remained disturbingly high.
In 2005, DeKalb County roads had 33,227 car accidents. The number of car wrecks in DeKalb dropped in 2006, to 31,782, and then dropped very slightly more in 2007, to 31,608. The number of car and truck accidents dropped significantly in 2008, however, to 26,629, and the number of wrecks dropped to the lowest number yet in 2009, down to 25,633.
Injuries dropped fairly dramatically, too. In 2005, 12,022 DeKalb County drivers were injured in car accidents. By 2006, the number of injuries in automobile crashes fell to 11,021, and then slightly further in 2007, dropping to 11,022. DeKalb made real progress, in 2008, however, seeing the number of injuries in car wrecks decrease to 9,129. That number fell even further in 2009, when 8918 drivers were injured in car or truck accidents on DeKalb County highways.
Unlike Cobb County, however, DeKalb did not see a large drop in the deaths caused by car accidents. While 81 people died on DeKalb roads in 2005, the number increased to 85 in 2006. 2007 saw a slight drop in the traffic fatalities in DeKalb County, down to 71, and 2008 saw a more impressive drop to 59 deaths in car accidents. But in 2009, the number soared back upward, with 75 people dying in automobile wrecks on DeKalb roads.
The fatal car accidents in DeKalb County were clustered around the county, but predominated around the interstates I-20 and especially 285. The interchange between 78 and 285 was appallingly dangerous, with a truly distressing number of wrecks clustered there in the area of Decatur leading into Stone Mountain. The interchanges in Tucker were also extremely dangerous, and another fatal cluster showed up around Panthersville at I-20 and 285, and at Redan at I-20, moving out along I-20 to Conyers. Redan Road and Marbut Road both had a very significant number of fatal crashes.
Of DeKalb drivers who died in car crashes, 55% were restrained, which means, were not wearing their seat belts. 17% were unrestrained (were not wearing seat belts). For another 28%, the DeKalb police were not able to tell whether the person killed in the car wreck had been wearing a seat belt.
Relatively few of the people who died on DeKalb County roads were in motorcycle crashes, although still, between 4 and 10 motorcyclists were killed in car crashes each year. Speed was a factor in between 13 and 22 deaths each year in car wrecks. Pedestrians were killed at a horrifying rate of 16-20 each year, which surely says that DeKalb County officials need to look very closely at the crosswalks and other provisions made for pedestrians walking across roads in DeKalb County. By far and away, however, alcohol played the biggest role in traffic fatalities in DeKalb. As many as 30 people died in a single year as a result of car accidents that involved alcohol.
Kudos to DeKalb for having fewer accidents, but DeKalb really needs to work on making its roadways safer for pedestrians, and on reducing the number of deaths in car and truck wrecks on its road.
The report from the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety can be accessed from http://www.gahighwaysafety.org/gacountycrashes.html.
Lee Wallace from The Wallace Law Firm, L.L.C., is a car accident lawyer, representing people injured or killed in car crashes in DeKalb County and throughout Georgia.