There are three main causes for the high number of traffic collisions in Georgia. First, road infrastructure regulations have not kept up with Georgia’s rapid motorisation. As a result, new roads often fail to comply with basic safety standards. Many roads are badly paved, insufficiently lit and lack appropriate signage, exposing road users to potentially hazardous traffic situations. A second cause for Georgia’s lack of road safety is the fact that citizens remain ill-informed about safe driving behaviour, and potential hazardous road infrastructure in their area. Underlying both of these issues is a third problem: due to a lack of adequate and structured data collection on road accidents, policy makers at local and national levels lack an overview of common challenges, structural causes of traffic hazards, and specific hazardous situations that need to be addressed urgently (so-called “black spots”). This prohibits them from taking effective and evidence-based action to reduce the number of traffic accidents in their area.
As such, EASST partner, the Partnership for Road Safety, have conducted an extensive data collection exercise across the western region of Georgia to demonstrate the true cost of poor road design and show the importance of good road safety practices. Initial data, collected from the Patrol Police Department within Ministry of Internal Affairs provided general number of road crash injury and fatality rates across Georgia, as well as the main causes of road traffic collisions in the western region. Unfortunately, this revealed a 4.76 per cent increase in the number of road fatalities compared with the previous year.
Number of road crashes and fatalities
Main causes of road traffic collisions in western Georgia – 2015
The Partnership for Road Safety have calculated a rate of almost two fatal crashes per day in Georgia meaning that traffic collisions are firmly placed in the top 5 causes of death in Georgia, and are the leading cause of death in children and young adults aged 5 to 29 years. In light of this, they conducted a survey with young people aged between 16-17 years old to understand the level of their road safety awareness. The surveys highlighted that the most significant risk for young people was visibility at night, particularly in rural areas where there are no streetlights. Other areas identified included: jaywalking, violating traffic signs more generally and using headphones!
In 2015, at least 78 media reports relating to road traffic collisions were reported throughout Georgia. In order to gain a more nuanced perspective on the trends related to road safety, the Partnership for Road Safety gathered information from each of these articles. Due to the high number of reports focusing on road fatalities, the focus of the study was on road fatalities and the causes of such fatalities. It was found that the majority of accidents, on average, injure at least 4 people per crash and many high profile accidents which were reported involved at least one road fatality. On average at least 2 people were found to die as a result of their injuries per accident reported on the Georgian roads. Many of those who were injured were left in critical condition to only later die from complications of their injuries. It is known that the biggest problems on Georgian roads include speeding, drink driving and dangerous pedestrian behaviour. However, many of the articles covering road collisions indicated many of the fatalities resulted from lesser-known indicators such as loss of control of the vehicle, improperly crossing over train tracks, emergency vehicle collisions and weather related causes.
Main causes of road traffic collisions as identified in print media
Read more about how the Partnership for Road Safety and EASST are working to promote Road Safety here.