Car fatalities in the area for 2012 are up almost 50 percent since 2011, according to Georgia State Patrol officials, and most were avoidable.
In 2012, there was 20 fatalities caused by car accidents, up drastically from 11 fatalities in the previous year.
“A lot of the fatalities didn’t have to happen,” said Georgia State Patrol Sgt. Maurice Raines of post 2 in LaGrange.
Raines said a lot of the fatalities occur from driver error, which he said means a distraction inside the vehicle. These distractions include playing with cell phones and radios.
One report from the GSP stated that the driver failed to stop at a red light at an intersection, and crossed the shoulder of a road, causing the vehicle to go airborne before striking an embankment. Witnesses said the vehicle never slowed down or applied the breaks at the intersection.
A one-car fatality usually involves driver error, Raines said, such as leaving the roadway and other bad decisions and distractions within the car.
In another fatality report, a driver was turning into a curve when the vehicle crashed into a mailbox. The vehicle then overturned and traveled about 100 feet before it finally stopped on the side of the road.
A witness said the vehicle had passed their vehicle and had observed the tail lights of the vehicle leaving the roadway. A nearby residence said that they heard the engine of the vehicle which indicated they were traveling at a high rate of speed.
“Why are you speeding when approaching a curve,” Raines asked. “That could have been avoided.”
Raines said that most two-car collisions occur from drivers failing to yield the right of way, following too closely and driving on the wrong side of the road.
“Why couldn’t you wait? Two more seconds of waiting and you won’t have the accident,” Raines said.
No one intends to have an accident, but drivers can do things to prevent them from happening.
Raines wanted motorists to help by being more defensive and stop causing mistakes that cause people to loose their lives.
“If they become more defensive in driving and think about the fact that they’re operating something that can take someone’s life, we can fight this battle,” Raines said. “To have 20 accidents in a year is disheartening and alarming. In 2013, we’re going to do everything we can to get that number down.”