Georgia is considered a pretty middle-ground state when it comes to inherent driving danger. Reports often look at injury crashes and road fatalities per capita, seatbelt use, and road conditions to determine where one is most likely to experience dangerous driving conditions.
Comparing Georgia (10.62 million) to the state with the most similar population and ranking, North Carolina (10.49 million), we will examine key factors that may make one state more dangerous to drive in than the other.
By the Numbers: Comparing Georgia and North Carolina Population
While the demographics of these populations vary slightly, we may be able to see a correlation between different characteristics and driving behaviors. The United States Census Bureau keeps a record of annual population projections between years and documents this data on their website.
When examining car accident reports, experts will often review different characteristics of drivers and accident circumstances to determine if there are various areas or campaigns they need to focus on. For example, if the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) examines a spike in distracted driving-related accidents, they may call for a national rollout of campaigns against texting and driving. Likewise, states that see an increase in accidents in younger age groups may alter their license requirements or testing materials to accommodate.
- Female population: 51.4% in both states
- Population in labor force: 62.6% in Georgia, 61.3% in North Carolina
- Mean travel time to work: 28.8 minutes in Georgia, 24.8 minutes in North Carolina
- Age range with highest population: 35 to 44 in both, followed by 25 to 34, and 45 to 54.
With populations skewing older, female, and working class - does this mean that drivers are inherently safer on the roads in these states?
Despite having similar characteristics and populations, the data shows that Georgians may be less likely to be in danger on the roads. In comparing key crash factors from 2019, we find:
- Total crashes: 196,108 in Georgia, 285,074 in North Carolina
- Traffic fatalities: 743 in Georgia, 1,470 in North Carolina
- Intersection related accidents: 87,138 in Georgia, 98,167 in North Carolina
While these can tell us statistically that one state has higher rates of accidents over the other, it doesn't necessarily tell us why it might be more dangerous. To further discuss this, we can examine driving laws.
Are Seat Belts Required?
Seat belts are often considered an essential safety measure across the United States; however, the laws regarding their use vary across the country.
In Georgia, all front-seat passengers are required to be buckled, but this is only required in the backseat for those aged 17 and under. Lawmakers have been discussing pursuing legislation over the past year to make it so all passengers, regardless of age, would need a seat belt. If passed through state legislatures, this would be the second time since 2010 that these laws have been altered.
Contrastly, in North Carolina, only those who are 16 and older are required to wear a seat belt. This is because the state employs something called the NC Child Passenger Safety law that requires a booster seat or other size-appropriate restraint until the child reaches a certain age or weight.
Road Work Ahead
The presence of construction and poorly maintained roads can also significantly impact one's ability to travel safely. With changing lanes, varying speed limits, narrowed streets, and stop and go traffic, it is no question that construction zones can make for more difficult navigation.
For the 2020 fiscal year, there were 15 major projects actively ongoing by the GDoT, including bridge, lane, or exit projects. Some of these even required lane closures and shifts that impacted travel time. While there is not yet enough evidence to determine how these affected crash reports for 2020, they likely made an impact.
So the question remains - how dangerous are Georgia roads? The answer's not so simple. While thousands are involved in accidents and hundreds are injured or lose their lives driving each year, there is enough data to suggest that these roads are safer than many in the country. Even when comparing against a state that is relatively similar in terms of population and demographics, North Carolina, it still seems as though you may be better off driving in the Peach State.
Stay Safe on Georgia Roads. Call (706) 914-1915
Berelc Law Firm is dedicated to ensuring the safety of Georgia motorists. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in an accident, contact our office to schedule a consultation. We will work diligently to help you receive maximum compensation and get back on your feet.