Highway fatalities dip, traffic eases as COVID-19 empties Georgia’s roads

Traffic fatalities and vehicle volume is down as more people begin staying home to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Traffic fatalities and vehicle volume is down as more people begin staying home to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

As the coronavirus continues to become more prevalent in Georgia, the weight of its impact is being felt on the state’s roads.

Most Georgians are staying at home to combat the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel virus, so many once-bustling interstates have been left virtually empty.

According to new data from the Georgia Department of Transportation, the number of deaths caused by traffic accidents, as well as the number of cars on the road in general, is lower this year than it was at this time last year.

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Fewer drivers took to the road last month as more people began working from home and more counties and cities started imposing shelter-in-place orders.

In March 2019, 143 people in Georgia were killed in car wrecks on interstates, according to GDOT data. By comparison, tentative numbers indicate that figure was 12.6% lower last month, with 125 deaths.

The first cases of COVID-19 in Georgia were reported in Fulton County on March 3. Just over a week later on March 11, the World Health Organization officially declared coronavirus a global pandemic.

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That day, vehicle volume on interstates across the state dropped by 44% from the same day last year. Non-interstate roads also saw 45% less traffic than the previous year, according to GDOT data.

The volume of trucks on the road did not see nearly as large of a decrease, dropping by just 4%.

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