Pedestrian fatalities have been increasing in Georgia and throughout the nation in recent years. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 6,283 pedestrians killed in 2018 (the most recent year we have full records for). This marked a 3% increase over 2017, and a 30% increase from 2009, just a decade earlier.
The rate of pedestrian fatalities has also steadily increased in Georgia over the same period of time. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety reports that there were 261 pedestrians killed in the state in 2018, which was a slight increase over 2017, and a 60% increase over the past five years. The state of Georgia is the sixth most dangerous state for pedestrians, and metro Atlanta is listed as one of the deadliest regions in the country for pedestrian accidents.
What is Causing the Increase in Pedestrian Deaths in Georgia?
There are a number of factors that experts believe are contributing to the rise in pedestrian fatalities in Georgia:
- Population Growth: Georgia’s population continues to grow at a healthy pace. As of 2019, there were 10.62 million residents in the state, up from 9.71 million in 2010. Since everyone is a pedestrian at some point, a larger population means an increase in pedestrian traffic.
- Demographic Changes: Georgia’s population is also aging. The median age of a resident in the state was 36.9 years old, an increase of 1.6 over 2010. With the baby boomers retiring, this trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Elderly pedestrians are particularly susceptible to severe injuries and fatalities when they are struck by a vehicle.
- Health and Environmentally Conscious Citizens: Our population is larger and older, and it is also more conscious of staying healthy and protecting the environment. Both of these causes can be helped by walking, and many people are choosing to walk, bike, and/or take public transportation to work.
- Larger Vehicles on the Road: Better economic conditions and lower fuel prices have led to an increase in the number of larger vehicles that are on the road. Among the most popular vehicles these days include SUVs and large pickup trucks. Because of the size and ground clearance of these vehicles, it can be more difficult to see pedestrians walking nearby; and when a pedestrian is struck by a large vehicle, there is a greater likelihood of serious and catastrophic injuries.
- Electronic Distractions: In our digital age when nearly everyone owns a smartphone, many drivers have a hard time staying off of their phones when they are behind the wheel. Texting while driving and other electronic activities are especially dangerous, because they distract drivers in three ways; visually, manually, and cognitively. The end result is that their focus is taken completely away from the road, causing them to miss important details such as a pedestrian crossing. Some pedestrians are also guilty of spending too much time on their phones, which can distract them from seeing an oncoming vehicle.
Ways to Avoid Pedestrian Accidents
Safety is a shared responsibility, and we must all do our part to reverse recent trends and vastly reduce the number of pedestrian accidents.
- Stay visible by wearing bright clothing during the day and reflective clothing at night;
- Be predictable by following all of the rules and crossing only when you have a green light at a stoplight;
- Cross streets only at crosswalks and intersections when possible;
- Never assume that a driver sees you – always try to make eye contact with the driver as a vehicle approaches so you know for sure that you have been seen;
- Watch out for vehicles that are entering and exiting driveways or backing up in parking lots;
- Avoid using alcohol or drugs while walking as it can impair your judgment and physical abilities;
- Keep alert at all times while walking and do not let your electronic devices distract you.
- Always be on the lookout for pedestrians, even when you are driving in areas where they do not usually appear;
- Be extra cautious when you are driving in adverse conditions such as after dark or during inclement weather;
- Never pass up vehicles that are stopped at a crosswalk as there may be pedestrians crossing that you are unable to see;
- Be especially mindful of pedestrians when you are backing up;
- Obey the speed limit and other traffic rules at all times, and especially when there are pedestrians on the street;
- Never drive after you have consumed alcohol or drugs;
- Put your phone away when you drive – never text, and only talk on the phone if it is in “hands-free” mode.
Injured in a Pedestrian Accident in Georgia? Contact a Skilled and Knowledgeable Atlanta Auto Accident Attorney
In spite of our best efforts, we cannot control the actions of others. If you or a loved one suffered injury in a pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to compensation. You can be sure that the insurance company will try to pay you as little as possible, however, and you need a strong advocate in your corner who is looking out for your best interests.
If your injury occurred in Georgia, contact Ross Moore II, P.C. for assistance. Call our Atlanta office today at (404) 491-8511 or message us online to schedule a free consultation and case assessment.