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"ThanksgivingThis Thanksgiving weekend Georgians will head out to be with families and
friends. We’ll eat and visit and be grateful for all we have been
given in this nation. Some of us, of course, also will shop!

But the sad truth is that some of us here in Georgia may die or be seriously
injured in car accidents this very weekend. So I hope, that in the midst
of the fun and joy, people here in Georgia will take just a minute to
think about the fact that we need to be exceptionally cautious this weekend.

Being an
auto accident lawyer, when I had questions about how dangerous Thanksgiving weekend could be
in terms of car accidents, I turned to theFatality Analysis Reporting System maintained by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration,
or NHTSA. According to what I learned from that database, 13 people died
across Georgia in 12 different accidents over the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

People were killed in fatal car wrecks all over the State of Georgia, and
not simply (or even mostly) in the Atlanta metro area. Two people were
killed in deadly car crashes in Macon, and another person died in a Buford
auto crash. One person was killed in a Valdosta car accident, and another
in a Savannah auto collision. A person was killed in a car crash near
Carrollton, and another in a Covington car accident. These fatal car accidents
happened not just on the mega interstates, like I-75, I-95, I-475, and
I-85, but also on smaller or more local roads, like Glade Farm Rd. in
Hall County, Boring Pond Rd. in Lowndes County, Brewton Lovett Rd. in
Laurens County, S. Bogan Rd. in the city of Buford in Gwinnett County,
and Muse Bridge Rd. in Carroll County.

The large number of deaths from Thanksgiving car accidents was no fluke.
In fact, even more people died over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2008.
That year, 18 people were killed in car accidents in Georgia. The most
dangerous holiday of 2008 was Christmas, when 25 people were killed in
25 different auto crashes. Twenty-one people were killed in Independence
Day car collisions over the Fourth of July weekend. Thanksgiving was tied
with Labor Day for third deadliest holiday weekend of the year, with each
holiday seeing 18 people killed around Georgia.

Over the 2009 Thanksgiving weekend, someone was killed in a car accident
here in Georgia every day of that four-day holiday. Surprisingly to me,
relatively fewer people were killed on Black Friday, November 27, 2009.
In a single, horrific accident, two people died that Friday.

I had thought that the heavy mall and shopping traffic that day would make
that one of the most dangerous days of the weekend. However, each of the
other days saw even more people killed. Three people were killed in car
accidents on Thanksgiving Day, four more were killed on Saturday, November
28, 2009, and another five people lost their lives in fatal traffic crashes
on Sunday, November 29, 2009.

Significantly, these figures from NHTSA do not include any of the people
who were seriously injured over the Thanksgiving weekend. Even if someone
suffered serious personal injuries in a car wreck – a head injury,
multiple broken bones, or quadriplegia or paraplegia – the database
is limited to car accidents in which someone was killed. Unless someone
died in those serious wrecks, then, they were not even in the FARS database.

So when you go visiting and shopping this weekend, remember that you are
one of the things for which your relatives and friends are the most thankful
– and watch out while you are driving!


Lee’s peers have named her a Georgia SuperLawyer every year for two decades.