Deaths due to distracted driving rising in Georgia

Authorities respond to a deadly crash involving a minibus carrying church members and a pickup truck on U.S. 83 in Texas.  

ATLANTA — Texting and driving kills: That’s the message that government officials want everyone to hear loud and clear.

Texting while driving and other bad behaviors have fueled a spike in motor vehicle deaths in Georgia and across the nation over the past two years.

Such deaths jumped by a third from 2014 to 2016 in Georgia — the fifth-highest increase in the country and more than twice the national average, new data from the National Safety Council shows. Fatalities rose 14 percent nationwide during the same period.

Police could have a new tool to fight distracted driving: A Textalyzer. We're looking into the controversial high-tech device, Wednesday on Channel 2 Action News at 5.

More than 1,500 people died in motor vehicle accidents in Georgia in 2016.

The top three killers are speed, alcohol and distraction.


At least 3,000 people die each year in accidents nationally caused by distracted driving – many of them, she suspects, caused by cellphones.

“The (driving) behavior is similar to that of a drunk, because they’re going to be all over the road,” Harris Blackwood, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

The 5 states with biggest rise in motor vehicle deaths, 2014-16

New Hampshire: 49%

Vermont: 45%

Oregon: 41%

Idaho: 36%

Georgia: 34%

Source: National Safety Council

Information from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution was used in this report.

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