Pedestrian Deaths Decline in Georgia, But Big Picture Indicates Problems Still Persist
GEORGIA- Pedestrian fatalities declined by about sixteen percent in the first six months of 2019 in Georgia, according to AJC.com. Reports found that 116 pedestrians were tragically killed in collisions in the first half of 2019 as compared to 137 pedestrian fatalities in the same time in 2018. However, pedestrian fatalities increased by about three percent nationwide during the same period.*
While the numbers seem to indicate progress, the long-term trends indicate that pedestrians are still at a heightened risk of being involved in deadly accidents. From 2011 to 2018, deadly pedestrian wrecks rose by about two times.
Distracted driving is one of the main causes of the rise. Smartphone sales picked up nationally in 2009, and at the same time, pedestrian deaths began to climb.
Officials in Georgia believe that the state’s hands-free law could be helping to curb the total number of deadly pedestrian incidents.
The hands-free law went into effect in 2018, and the number of overall traffic fatalities declined that same year. It is not clear whether that is the cause of the improving numbers, but some in the state believe that it has been beneficial.
It is fairly clear that SUVs are another issue impacting pedestrian safety. These vehicles are far more likely to kill a person than are sedans. The increasing popularity of large vehicles is also likely leading to a higher number of deaths across the nation.
Among possible ways to improve pedestrian safety are changes to infrastructure and lowering of speed limits, especially in places where pedestrians are frequently walking.
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Sources:https://www.ajc.com/blog/commuting/pedestrian-deaths-fall-georgia-but-don-celebrate-yet/R2QScfzeLhR0bH6EdzkNXO/ and https://www.gahighwaysafety.org/research/ and https://www.codot.gov/safety/traffic-safety-pulse/2019/march-2019/death-on-foot-americas-love-of-suvs-is-killing-pedestrians