CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. – More than 1,500 people died from traffic related crashes last year ranking Georgia as the 4th highest for road deaths in the country.
As of Friday there have been 152 deaths on Georgia highways since the beginning of this year.
Troopers said they all involve some sort of factor from speeding to drunk driving and even distracted driving.
“Chatham County is our highest activity county,” Trooper Dustin Stone, with Georgia State Patrol, said. “That’s where I make the most DUI arrests. There are a lot of fatalities in Chatham.”
Stone with said his mission is to catch people speeding, not wearing their seat belts or texting and driving to decrease the fatality rate in the Peach State.
“On Truman Parkway and it was at 10:30 this morning and he was under the influence of alcohol,” Stone said. “He didn’t crash, but if I hadn’t stopped him he could’ve eventually went on down the road and crashed.”
News 3 rode with Stone in the patrol car that Friday afternoon where they pulled over one person for speeding and three others for not wearing their seat belt all within one hour.
“Seat belts and speeding are very big factors in fatal crashes,” Stone said. “A lot of times if you were wearing your seat belt the people that are in the collisions would’ve survived if they had it on and a lot of times the only reason they didn’t and a lot of times they didn’t survive is because they weren’t wearing it and were ejected from the vehicle.”
A recent study from Georgia Department of Transportation shows 917 people died last year while merging lanes and more than 60 people have died this year.
Stone said the cause is mostly distracted driving and it happens too often.
“It’s a very regular occurrence, but you’ll stop people even if some runs a red light you’ll ask why did you run that red light,” Stone said. “Well I wasn’t’ paying attention I was doin this or I was playing with the radio or I was putting on my makeup or I was on my phone.”
And he has a few words of advice to keep you and your loved ones out of harm’s way.
“Put your phone down, pay attention to the roadway, don’t drink and drive and always wear your seat belt,” Stone said. “You do all those things you decrease your chances of being involved in a fatal collision greatly.”