The Georgia State Patrol has some encouraging news for us. There were fewer auto accidents over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in Georgia this year. A total of 13 people died in car crashes over the 102-hour holiday period.

Those numbers were much lower than the fatality rates last year when 19 people were killed over the Thanksgiving weekend in Georgia. These fatalities occurred in 3,815 car accidents that left 1,457 people injured. This year, however, there were 13 fatalities in 3,089 accidents. 713 people were injured in these accidents.

Georgia State Patrol had predicted a much higher rate of accidents, injuries and fatalities this year. It had predicted a total of 3,570 accidents, injuring 1,398 people and killing 16. Not only have this year's accident, injury and fatality totals been lower than last year's, but the rates have actually beaten predictions by Georgia State Patrol.  This in spite of the higher volume of holiday traffic this year compared to Thanksgiving 2008.  As I discussed just before the Thanksgiving holiday, there was an expected increase of 3 percent in holiday travel compared to last year.

seat belt enforcement campaigns and anti drunk driving patrols by the Governor's Office of Highway Safety probably contributed to this decrease in wreck and fatalities.  Keeping car accidents and traffic fatalities in check is really pretty simple.  If we stay within posted speed limits, buckle up, avoid driving after drinking, turn off our cell  phones and not text while driving, we can make a real difference in our lives and in the lives of others around us.

Jason Schultz is an Atlanta personal injury lawyer representing injured victims of auto accidents in Atlanta and across Georgia.

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