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I don’t think I’ve ever lost my childlike excitement about
Christmas. Every year I look forward to family, friends, church, great
meals, and lots of fun.

So for me it is hard to even think about a family being devastated by a
fatal car wreck around the holidays. But as a
car accident lawyer here in Georgia, I see families that have suffered an unimaginable blow
right at what should be one of the most wonderful times of the year.

The reality is that every year 10 – 25 people die in car wrecks over
the Christmas holiday. Is there anything that we can do to lower that
amount? We know that sometimes drivers can avoid accidents by being alert,
engaging in defensive driving, slowing down, and not driving DUI.

So what would it take for Georgians to do that this Christmas holiday period?
I am hoping a dose of cold, hard reality will make folks remember that
every time they get in the car – no matter how exciting the destination,
and no matter how many people are in the car – the driver needs
to be exceptionally, exceptionally careful.

So here are the facts. They are cold and painful, but hopefully publishing
them will help save a life this holiday season. These facts are gleaned
from searches of the
Fatality Analysis Reporting System “FARS”) maintained by the National Highway and Traffic Safety
Administration (“NHTSA”).

In 2009, eleven people died in ten car accidents around the state of Georgia.

Heart-rendingly, six of the people who died in car crashes died on Christmas
Day. Two people died in separate car accidents on I-285. Both accidents
occurred on Christmas Day. One of the car wrecks occurred on the stretch
of I-285 that runs though Clayton County, and the other collision occurred
on a part of I-285 that sits within the DeKalb County limits.

Another person was killed in a car accident in the city of Jesup in Wayne
County, on Sunset Blvd.

A person was killed in a car crash that occurred in Norcross, in Gwinnett
County, at the intersection of Jimmy Carter Blvd. and Live Oak Parkway.

One person died in Cobb County on Cobb Parkway / SR-3 / Highway 41.

In a Laurens County car crash on I-16, two people lost their lives on Christmas Day.

One person died after a collision that occurred on the day after Christmas,
in Douglas County, at the corner of Annewakee Rd. and Oak Place.

On December 27, 2009, three people died in car crashes here in Georgia.

The first died in Catoosa County on SR-151 / Old Alabama Hwy. A second
person lost his life in a car crash in Walnut Grove in Walton County on
State Road Highway 138. The last person to die for the 2009 Christmas
holiday died in McIntosh County on I-95 / US Highway 95.

To me, it’s sobering to think of all of the families who got such
devastating news over the Christmas holiday. For them, the holiday was
turned from dream to nightmare. And for each of the people who died, dozens
received serious injuries over the holiday. (That data is not available
in the NHTSA FARS database, which by definition only includes wrecks in
which at least one person was killed.)

Sobering for you, too? I hope so. So be careful this Christmas season.
Drive defensively and slowly. And make sure your family and you have a
Merry Christmas!


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