Several years back I noticed that a number of the most serious Atlanta car wreck lawsuits I was seeing -- suits that involved wrecks that resulted in severe personal injuries or wrongful death -- came from the DeKalb County side of Atlanta. The number of DeKalb County auto wrecks was not half of what I was seeing, but it was certainly higher than I had expected it to be. The Fulton County side of Atlanta is so much bigger, I puzzled. Why were so many cases coming from DeKalb County?
It turns out that the reason for the large number of serious injury and death car wrecks in DeKalb County is that the roads that run through the part of Atlanta that is in DeKalb County tend to be enormous, multi-lane highways. The city of Atlanta is large enough that it crosses from Fulton County - where most of the city lies - into DeKalb County. While a smaller portion of Atlanta is on the DeKalb County side, according to a Georgia DOT report, the two sides have nearly the same mileage in state routes. For obvious reasons, the multi-lane highways see an enormous amount of the traffic that courses through and around the city of Atlanta and the metro Atlanta area. More cars, of course, mean more car accidents; more car accidents in turn mean more serious injuries and deaths from those accidents.
The sheer volume of roadway on the Fulton County side eclipses the volume in DeKalb County. While a total of 1407 miles of city, county and state roads are in Atlanta/Fulton County, a relatively small 298.17 miles of roadway run through DeKalb County.
But the two counties have nearly the same total state route mileage. In total, the DeKalb County portion of Atlanta has 137.46 miles of state routes, which is nearly as many as the Fulton County side, which has 142.94 miles. These large, state routes account for a significant percentage of the serious personal injuries and deaths that occur in car accidents here in Atlanta and the Atlanta Metro Area.
Surprisingly, Atlanta actually has more county road mileage on its DeKalb County side than it does on his huge Fulton County side. DeKalb County has 71.12 miles of roads built and maintained by DeKalb County. As a very broad-brush generalization, county roads tend to be slightly wider and busier than city roads. (While the statistics clearly show that state roads on average tend to be much wider than county and city roads, the difference between the widths of county and city roads is often very small. In a few instances in a few counties, the city roads are actually slightly wider than the county roads.)
While Fulton County has many miles of big, multi-lane highways, it also has a high percentage of more local, sometimes even residential, roads. Fulton County rockets ahead when it comes to the miles of city roads within Atlanta. The number of Atlanta city roads in Fulton County eclipses the number in DeKalb County: to DeKalb's 89.59 miles of city streets, Atlanta's Fulton County side has 1214.54 miles of city streets.
As it turns out then, the reason that DeKalb has a very high number of serious auto wrecks resulting in injuries or deaths is because DeKalb has a higher percentage of highway state routes, and thus a surprisingly high amount of traffic.