Georgia’s Pedestrian Fatality Rate Increases
Georgia’s roads are dangerous for pedestrians, according to information released recently from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Not only is the fatality rate of pedestrians involved in motor vehicle collisions higher in Georgia than the national average, but the number of fatalities is also rising while the national average is falling.Crosswalk sign
According to the NHTSA, Georgia’s pedestrian death rate is 24% higher than the national average. Since 2001, the national rate of pedestrian deaths caused by a vehicle has decreased. However, the numbers of pedestrians killed in Georgia has actually increased. In 2001, the 146 pedestrian deaths were 9% of the state’s 1,615 traffic related fatalities that year. In 2010, the 168 pedestrian deaths were 13.5% of the 1,244 fatalities. Across the country, however, the rate of fatal pedestrian accidents has decreased 19% since 2001.
After the statistics were released, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood commented on the responsibilities both drivers and pedestrians had to ensuring safety to those walking on our roadways. “Roadway safety is a two-way street that requires effort on the part of motorists and pedestrians alike,” he said.
These statistics released by the NHTSA reveal a huge problem in Georgia. It is evident that we need to take steps to increase pedestrian safety in our state. It is important for pedestrians to keep in mind the possible dangers when walking along our streets. Walking is the most dangerous at night time, as cars are less likely to see pedestrians. It is also important for pedestrians to remember to cross at protected intersections and crosswalks. Sometimes it may seem more convenient to just cross in the middle of the street, but a little time saved is not worth putting your life at risk.
Drivers have a responsibility to look out for pedestrians, as well. Georgia state law dictates that drivers must stop completely if someone is walking through a crosswalk anywhere on the driver’s side of the road. If a pedestrian is walking through a crosswalk and approaching the driver’s side of the road, as long as the pedestrian is within one lane of the driver’s side of the road, the driver must stop completely.