Traffic death rates lower in Georgia than most of the South

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Eileen Silverman's Lincoln Continental was total in 2010 when, the Sandy Springs grandmother said, the car suddenly accelerated, crashed through a fence and into a tree off Roswell Road. Dozens of Continental and Lincoln Town Car owners like the one driven by Marlene Wilbur, charged in connection with a recent Paulding County crash, have filed complaints with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration but none have been investigated.

A comparison of death rates in traffic accidents suggests that you’re more likely to die in a wreck in 22 other states than in Georgia.

The new study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute compares traffic fatalities with the leading causes of death in the 50 states (heart disease, cancer, lung disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s).

Authors Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle found that the highest fatality rate from car crashes in 2013 was in Montana, with 22.6 deaths per 100,000 population. The lowest rate was District of Columbia, 3.1 per 100,000; Georgia was in the middle at 11.8.

Except for Virginia, Southern states all had higher traffic death rates than Georgia. Mississippi was second-highest, with 20.5 per 100,000 population; Alabama (fifth-highest), 17.6; Arkansas, 16.3; South Carolina, 16.1; Tennessee, 15.3; Louisiana, 15.2; North Carolina, 13.1; Texas, 12.8; Florida, 12.3. Virginia’s rate was 9.0, compared with Georgia’s 11.8.

The leading causes of death, such heart disease and cancer, claim far more people than traffic accidents. Sivak and Schoettle found that in Georgia, for example, the death rate per 100,000 from heart disease was 165.5; from cancer, 164.3.

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