SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - At the end of 2015, it became the commitment of not only the governor and his office, but all the local departments to fix the spike in traffic fatalities on Georgia roadways.
Three months into 2016, and that needle is pointed in the right direction.
In 2015, we had nearly 1,500 lives lost on our roads. That is 1,500 hundred families impacted. Compare that to 2014, where we saw just under 1,200 deaths.
"I think one of the biggest contributing factors is the price of gasoline. A lot more people are out there driving now. The prices came down," said Harris Blackwood, Director of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety.
The lower prices meant more people on the road. Statewide initiatives were launched, such as "Drive Alert, Arrive Alive," which focused on the little things like putting the phone down and wearing a seat belt. So far, it seems to be working.
In 2016, to date, there have been 294 deaths on the roads, compared to 327 this time last year.
"Keep in mind though, we are about to enter the most heavily-traveled season of the year, with kids getting out and summer vacations," said Blackwood.
One other thing the Governor's Office of Highway Safety has done is crack down on big commercial vehicles. There has been a hesitation in the past by local officers to stop those big trucks. Now, classes are being offered to help local departments make those stops if needed.
"Out to the police agencies and since last fall, we have taught that course to over 1,000 police officers in Georgia," said Blackwood.
One of the things they are happiest about this year is that the deaths on our local routes are down. That has been a focus, and those are down nearly 30-percent. They will hopefully carry that momentum throughout the rest of the year.