Deaths On Georgia’s Roadways Potentially On The Rise, Top Highway Safety Officials Warn

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Traffic fatalities in Georgia are expected to rise in Georgia in 2012, marking the first increase in the state’s traffic deaths in more than five years.

In light of the potential increase in deaths, Col. Mark McDonough, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, and Harris Blackwood, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, launched “Operation: Safe Holidays” Tuesday in a tour that they hope will stem the tide of rising traffic fatalities this year.

“Already, we have surpassed where we were this time last year and we have not even entered the holiday season, our busiest traffic period of the year,” Mr. Blackwood said. “We have to do everything in our power to hold that line and do everything in our power to make motorists pay attention to the deadly consequences of distracted and impaired driving and buckle up every trip, every time, from now until the end of the year. We simply cannot afford to lose another life on Georgia’s roads this year.”

The potential increase in road fatalities for 2012, if realized, would come after six consecutive years of decreasing fatality rates on Georgia’s roadways.

Between Jan. 1 and Nov. 15, 1,013 people died in motor vehicle crashes in Georgia. The rate of traffic fatalities this year is in line to exceed that of 2011, when 1,226 people died in motor vehicle crashes in Georgia.

Appearing together in five cities across the state, Mr. McDonough and Mr. Blackwood called attention to the increasing need for vigilance on Georgia’s roads in the final 41 days of the year, saying that saving a life is as simple as securing a seat belt.

“Wearing your seat belt is the single most effective thing you can do to ensure you and your passengers arrive safely to your family’s Thanksgiving celebration,” said Col. McDonough. “It’s also an effective way to avoid getting stopped by law enforcement on your way home.”

Already, law enforcement officials across the state have been participating in Click-it or Ticket, a national campaign to enforce seat belt laws and save lives during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period.

“Fatal crashes frequently involve speed, an impaired driver, or the victim not being properly restrained,” Col. McDonough said, “and sometimes it is any combination of these contributing circumstances.” 

Mr. McDonough said traffic enforcement operations will reduce traffic crashes across the state. 

“We want everyone to enjoy the holiday period but make traffic safety the priority while you travel,” he added.

In 2010 alone, seat belts saved more than 12,500 lives nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Federal research also shows that proper seat belt use reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent.  Proper seat belt use reduces the risk of moderate to serious injuries by 50 percent.

Still, nearly 50 percent of the confirmed fatalities on Georgia’s roads this year were people who were not wearing a seat belt. And nearly 68,000 people across the state were cited for not wearing a seat belt during a 100-day enforcement campaign this past summer.

“While Georgia’s rate of seat belt use averages above 90 percent, nearly every week, there is a fatal crash involving a person who was not properly restrained,” said Mr. Blackwood. “Seat belt use is one of the few things we have control over in our lives. Neglecting it should never be a factor in our deaths.”


Salvation Army Holds Donation Drive On April 11

There will be a donation drive for the female population of The Salvation Army and The Chattanooga Room in the End. The drive is hosted by the Human Service Specialist Club of Chattanooga State Community College. The drive will be Saturday, April 11, at Country Inn & Suites Hotel, 5000 New Country Drive (Behind IHOP & Super Shine Car Wash off Hwy 153), ... (click for more)

Vehicle Donated To Bradley County Sheriff's Office

Sheriff Eric Watson and Chief Deputy Brian Smith accepted the gift of a free automobile from a Cleveland dealer.  Andy Kiswani, of David Auto Sales on South Lee Highway at Phillips Street, made the donation of a vehicle to the sheriff and chief. Mr. Kiswani said he greatly appreciates the effort made by the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office to keep the community safe, and ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Police Detective Karl Fields Terminated On Code Of Conduct Charges

Karl Fields, former Chattanooga Police detective, was terminated on Wednesday, on code of conduct charges. The Chattanooga Police Department received a correspondence from the Hamilton County District Attorney’s Office o n Sept. 4, 2014,  informing them of allegations of inappropriate behavior committed by a CPD investigator during the course of a rape investigation. ... (click for more)

Autopsy Says 5-Year-Old Whitwell Boy Died Of Blunt Force Trauma

An autopsy on five-year-old Lucas Dillon of Whitwell says he died of blunt force trauma. The TBI is investigating the death, which is being treated as a homicide. The child, who lived on Jewell Lane Road. was injured on Saturday and died in a hospital on Monday. Lucas was a student at Whitwell Head Start. . (click for more)

Physicians Thank Their Patients On Doctor’s Day

March 30 has been set aside as National Doctors’ Day since 1933 as a time to recognize the contributions made by our physicians. While the recognition is appreciated, our greatest satisfaction comes from caring for our patients.  For 132 years, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society has been the physicians’ voice as we worked together to improve health of our community. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Look At My April Garden

On this April Fool’s Day, as I take my monthly stroll through my virtual garden, there are gorgeous flowers and there are weeds, which appear to be trying harder than the flowers. So let’s see what we find before searching for “The Prize Egg” on Sunday. A FLOWER to the New York cab driver who told a young writer, “Always remember that everyone you meet knows something that you ... (click for more)