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Pedestrian Deaths at a 28-year High

Pedestrian safety statistics in the United States are have been pretty grim lately. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that in 2016, there was a pedestrian accident fatality every 1.5 hours in the United States.  Even more alarming, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) found that the number of pedestrian deaths in 2018 were at a 28-year high.

Georgia was one of five states that accounted for almost half of the number of pedestrian deaths just in the first six months of 2018.  In the Atlanta area, pedestrian deaths were also on the rise, especially in 2017, with an alarming number pedestrian accidents occurring on highways.

A recent report by the GHSA found that pedestrian deaths were higher among certain groups including the poor, people of color, and those without health insurance, as these groups were more likely to live in areas that have fewer sidewalks and are otherwise more dangerous for pedestrians.  The GHSA also found that, the elderly and children were especially vulnerable to being struck as a pedestrian.

Most of us are taught how to cross the street safely at a young age. Besides looking both ways before you cross, there is plenty that pedestrians can do to increase their chances of walking home safely without an accident.  They can dress in bright neon clothing to be visible to motorists, follow all the rules of the road, and cross the road only at marked and designated crosswalks.

However, drivers also have the responsibility to drive safely and be mindful of pedestrians at all times. A collision between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian almost always results in serious injuries, if not death, to the pedestrian.

As a driver, there are several steps you can take to do your part in making the roads safer for all pedestrians.

First, look out for pedestrians at all times when you are driving. With the continued growth in North Georgia, there has been an increase in pedestrian traffic in the metro Atlanta over the past few years. Therefore, it is extremely important that motorists keep a careful look out for pedestrians who may be trying to cross the road, either at the crosswalk or other, or just standing at curbs.  Do not be guilty of distracted driving, which is one of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents.

Take extra care when you are approaching a crosswalk, and always slow down as you near or enter the crosswalk. Remember that pedestrians have right of way in a crosswalk. Yield to all pedestrians, and give them time to cross. If you see a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk, but don’t see any pedestrians crossing, don’t assume that there is no one in the crosswalk just because you can’t see them. It is very likely that the other driver is stopped because there are pedestrians around. Therefore, you should stop car as well.

Always obey the speed limit. Speeding motorists cause a large number of pedestrian accidents every year. A high-speed accident is more likely to result in catastrophic or fatal injuries to the pedestrian. Reduce your speed in school zones and in residential neighborhoods where there are likely more pedestrians.

Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These can affect your vision and your judgment, and may cause you to miss seeing a pedestrian in time to avoid an accident.

Be very careful when backing out and always look out for pedestrians behind your car. Back up cameras can help motorists spot any stray pedestrians in their path and avoid an accident.

A pedestrian accident can result in serious life-altering injuries that may take weeks or months to heal.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, call an attorney and discuss your legal rights to a claim.

The Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyers at the Katz Personal Injury Lawyers represent persons injured as a result of the negligence of others in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia. Call an attorney at our firm today, and discuss the types of damages that may be available to you. Remember, you may qualify for damages even if you were partly responsible for causing the accident.

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