A Rise In Auto Accidents Over Labor Day Weekend
Although many simply consider Labor Day as a sign the end of summer is drawing near, Georgia traffic safety officials are bracing for a deadly close to the season. It’s well-established that auto accidents in Georgia spike over Labor Day weekend, and Atlanta injury lawyers know last year’s holiday was among the deadliest on record.
In 2018, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that 18 people were killed in Georgia car accidents over Labor Day weekend – double the number who died in crashes the previous year. The Georgia Department of Public Safety revealed exactly half those fatal wrecks occurred in the Atlanta metro area, while another three were in Union City, and two more in Cobb County.
Investigations of non-fatal crashes and DUI arrests also spiked in 2018 compared to Labor Day 2017. Troopers reported 446 collisions over those three days in 2018, compared to 398 in 2017. There were also 332 arrests for driving under the influence last year compared to 248 the year before.
Why is Labor Day So Deadly on the Roads?
The most common contributing factors to police-reported crashes over the Labor Day holiday in Georgia include:
- DUI/ impaired driving
- Distracted driving
- Fatigued driving
- Heavy traffic volumes/road construction
Many of these factors can compound upon one another to result in very dangerous road conditions. Far too many result in injuries and deaths that just didn’t need to happen. A dedicated personal injury attorney can help survivors seek justice.
Labor Day is always the first Monday in September, offering a three-day weekend bookend to summer that commemorates the creation of the labor movement and dedicated to the economic and social achievements of American workers towards the prosperity, strength and well-being of these United States.
However, many seize on it as an excuse to drink – which is not usually a problem, except when they also choose to drive. The risk of a drunk driving accident on Labor Day is 15 percent higher than the usual weekend rate – 43 percent versus 28 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
(NHTSA officials urge Georgians to remember: “If you feel different, you drive different.”)
Higher Volumes of Traffic
Congested roads are another big problem over the long weekend. Even in the face of rising gas prices, Labor Day traffic volumes have risen about 3 percent annually the last nine consecutive years. Of those traveling 50 miles or more for the holiday, 85 percent are driving, rather than flying, according to AAA. The more people on the road, the higher the chances of a crash. Motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians are especially vulnerable.
Road Work & Construction
Compounding the issue are the nearly 400 ongoing road construction projects in the state, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation. With sudden lane shifts and slowdowns common in these zones, drivers are more easily caught off-guard in unfamiliar traffic patterns – especially if they’re distracted. This increases the chance of a chain-reaction crash, too.
Speeding & Driver Fatigue
We’re also more likely to see drivers speeding (hurrying to make the most of the weekend or just trying to beat the traffic) and fatigued (many motorists are taking loner road trips).
Comparatively, Labor Day isn’t the holiday with the worst crash risk. The Fourth of July, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Memorial Day usually tally higher road death and injury tolls. Yet in 2018 in Georgia, there were 19 deaths over the long weekend, two more than were recorded over Memorial Day weekend.
If You’re Injured in a Crash, Contact an Attorney
Atlanta car accident lawyers have successfully secured compensation for injured drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and others injured in these types of collisions. There are often numerous avenues through which to pursue compensation, assuming you weren’t more than 50 percent at-fault (Georgia’s comparative negligence standard), which can include plaintiff’s failure to avoid danger, as outlined in O.C.G.A. 51-11-7.
Acting on this as soon as possible is in your best interest, as it’s easier to collect key evidence in the days and hours after the crash, plus the clock on the two-year statute of limitations begins ticking the day of the crash.
The foregoing answers are not legal advice and are merely a general overview. You are advised to consult a lawyer to address your specific situation regarding your situation. For more information or to inquire about a free consultation, contact Stephen D. Apolinsky, an experienced Atlanta injury attorney, at Apolinsky & Associates at (404) 377-9191 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.