CHEROKEE COUNTY (CBS46)-- Police in Cherokee County say they've seen a rise in the number of deadly car accidents since the pandemic.

"Prior to August 1st, we've seen seven fatal accidents in Cherokee County. Since August 1st, we've seen ten fatal accidents," explains Sergeant Lauren Denson.

It's a trend that has continued across Georgia. According to the Georgia's Governor's Office of Highway Safety, driving fatalities have steadily increased over the last ten years. Even more disturbing, so has the number of alcohol-involved driving deaths.

It's something Debby and Alfred Hawkins know first hand. Four years ago, they were awoken by police at their door. "They told us there'd been an accident. And my mind had already been there," says Alfred.

They soon learned their 21-year-old son, Anthony, was driving home after hanging out with some friends, when he was hit head-on by a drunk driver. The police said the driver did not have her headlights on, and it was unlikely Anthony saw the car before the collision.

"He was so many things to so many people. We were blessed to have him for 21 years," says Debby.

Anthony's parents say ironically, Anthony was the designated driver in his friend group, often staying sober and making sure his friends got home safe.

Sgt. Denson points out what happened to Anthony is an unfortunate, yet not uncommon, occurrence. "These are general motorists, young and old, making mistakes. Mistakes that could have been avoided."

Alfred echoes that sentiment, noting more lives would be saved if people simply chose not to get behind the wheel after drinking. "I just don't understand why people can't take care of one another. It's senseless. Someone has to be mature enough, bright enough, responsible enough to do the right thing and say 'okay, we're going home, you're not driving, there's no way you're driving'".

Copyright 2020 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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