Once again, the authorities in Georgia are left to report the bad news regarding traffic fatalities as another major holiday continues apace. There were the usual reports of car accidents across the state. For example, a major accident occurred at the Jones-Baldwin County line on Tuesday, Nov. 20, in the early evening, on Highway 49. According to the Sheriff of Jones County, two cars collided, leaving two people dead and one in serious condition.

One of the ironies of the revered Thanksgiving holiday where families reunite and warm memories are shared, is the hard and lonely specter of highway death and destruction. Although the Sheriff did not have specific details to share regarding the actual cause of the collision, he did discuss the dangers of distracted driving. He pointed out that the roads in that area were very dark and that there was a lot of traffic.

According to the National Safety Council, research shows that the risk of a fatal crash is much greater in the evening hours than any other time of the day. In that sense, the Sheriff may be correct in suggesting a link between the darkness of the roads and the incidence of accidents. The Sheriff advised reporters that there was a third car that had gotten “clipped” in the accident, and the driver of that vehicle was airlifted to a medical center. The Sheriff did not speculate on the cause of the accident but noted his office’s continuing investigation of the matter.

The Sheriff indicated that the area was a prime one for car accidents and traffic fatalities, especially in the evening hours. His recommendation was to stay off one’s telephone and don’t text. His suggestions seem to indicate a suspicion that distracted driving could have caused the fatal event rather than impairment. In either event, the estate of the deceased person will have a wrongful death civil claim for damages against the negligent driver, and the injured motorist has a claim for personal injury damages under Georgia law. The determination of fault will likely wait at least until the receipt of the Sheriff’s investigative report.