More drivers in Atlanta are driving recklessly
If you feel like people are driving more recklessly in Atlanta than they were several years ago, you're right, according to data from the Georgia Department of Transportation.
By the numbers: The number of crashes in the 11-county metro Atlanta area caused by aggressive driving, driving while distracted, and speeding increased from 96,870 in 2013 to 116,871 in 2022.
- The number of fatalities in these crashes has more than doubled in the last nine years, from 187 in 2013 to 483 in 2022.
- Deaths from crashes increased from 230 in 2019 to 289 in 2020.
What they're saying: People are driving faster and more aggressively, Marietta Police Department spokesperson Chuck McPhilamy told Axios.
- When we weren’t on the roads as much in 2020, drivers "had a sense of freedom and an illusion that there weren’t others on the road," so they ramped up their speeds – and haven't slowed down since, McPhilamy said.
The result: Marietta police are seeing a spike in the severity of crashes its traffic officers are investigating.
- Just in March, the department reported several crashes that resulted in deaths or serious injuries, including one that injured two construction workers and another that left a motorcyclist fighting for his life.
- Speeding and distracted driving are the two main factors in accidents around the city.
- "We've all become so accustomed to driving that we're not giving that same seriousness or attentiveness to the wheel and the road while we're behind the wheel of a car," McPhilamy told Axios.
Yes, and: The never-ending I-285/Ga. 400 interchange reconstruction project is causing drivers to get "frustrated" while traveling through Sandy Springs, police Sgt. Matthew McGinnis told Axios.
- The changing traffic pattern implemented by crews to accommodate the project leaves drivers confused and having to make last-minute exits from the interstate.
- A prime example of this happened in 2021 when SSPD reported a 3-vehicle crash involving drivers who tried to exit I-285 at Glenridge Drive at the same time.
- "We're doing the best we can to help facilitate that flow, but there's only so much we can do," McGinnis told Axios. "Just be patient and plan for extra time rather than trying to rush because rushing does nobody any good."
Big picture: A 2022 observational study of 20 counties conducted by the Injury Prevention Research Center at Emory University found that nearly 18% of drivers in metro Atlanta were distracted while driving, compared to around 13% elsewhere in Georgia.
💭 Our thought bubble: Driving around the city feels like you’re playing a game of chicken – dodging vehicles suddenly cutting across the downtown connector at the last minute, making sudden U-turns, and maneuvering around drivers who are more focused on their phones than the road. (You know we can see you on your phone, right?)
- Kristal can't count how many times she's seen people holding their phones and filming themselves while driving.
- Emma once saw someone watching a TV show on his mounted phone on the connector.
- Thomas and his friends once saw a guy playing guitar on I-75 heading south.
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