Channel 2 Action News recently began an investigation into the increased number of crashes on Peachtree Road in Buckhead over the past couple of years.
They found that sideswipe accidents had almost doubled; increasing from 64 to 113 between 2010 and 2012. Rear-end crashes have also been on the rise, as they increased from 78 to 129 during the same time period. These crash rates are above statewide averages in all severity categories.
The investigation also uncovered something that could be a factor in the increases in crashes on Peachtree Road: extremely narrow lanes. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Design Policy Manual states that “lane width” has been identified as a "controlling criteria" that has substantial importance to the operational and safety performance of a roadway such that special attention should be given to the design decision. Therefore, GDOT adopts the AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) Green Book criteria as the standard for lane width options for roadway classifications in Georgia. The designer is encouraged to select a lane width that provides a balance among the design vehicle, other users of the facility, and within the context of the surrounding environment. AASHTO recommends that the width of a lane in an urban arterial road should be between 10 and 12 feet. A lane of Peachtree Road was measured near the Publix and it fell short of that at 9 feet wide.
Narrow lanes like the ones on Peachtree Road make it difficult for drivers to properly maintain their lanes. For drivers of SUVs, large trucks, and commercial vehicles, it is all but impossible. Since sideswipe accidents are on the rise, drivers could find themselves in the middle of a DUI investigation when police are called to the scene of an accident. Not to mention what happens when a police officer observes a driver weaving in and out of their lane. The officer could see that as erratic driving and use it as a reasonable, articulable suspicion of possible DUI and pull drivers over and subject them to roadside breath testing and impossible field sobriety tests.
But the news isn't all bad. There is a Peachtree Road Task Force that has been created to address these concerns as well as others. Recently residents and business owners of Peachtree Road and the surrounding area had a public information open house to learn about proposed safety and traffic improvements to the road.
Joshuah Mello, Assistant Director of Transportation with the City of Atlanta has said the road will be restriped to create a two-way left-turning lane that will dedicate a third lane to turning traffic. He also said that while the capacity of the road would decrease, it would end up being safer in the long run, as it is estimated to “decrease crashes by 35 percent.”
If you have been arrested for DUI in Atlanta or the North Georgia Area, contact Atlanta DUI Attorney Richard Lawson right away. You need the expertise of an attorney that can challenge the reason for your stop and probable cause determinations made by the arresting officer. He is ready to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.