Articles Posted in Pedestrian accidents

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Thousands of injuries every year occur in accidents caused when motorists crash into disabled vehicles that have been parked onto the side of the road and are not visible to motorists.

According to a new report published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, these accidents result in hundreds of fatalities every year.  The data analyzed revealed that there were 566 car accident fatalities between 2016 and 2018, all involving accidents featuring a disabled or stopped vehicle. In all of these accidents, visibility was rated as a likely factor in the accident. These accidents resulted in more than 14,371 injuries, and cost more than $8.8 billion in lost income and other accident-related losses.

Visibility is often a major factor in these accidents. The researchers found that 95% of accidents involving stopped vehicles featured a vehicle crashing into the stationary or stopped vehicle. More than 50% of the fatalities involved a car hitting a person who was walking back to the stopped vehicle or working on the disabled vehicle. As many as one in 5 severe injuries were the result of such pedestrian motorists walking around the disabled car.  When the stopped vehicle situation occurs at night, it makes the chances of a collision ever more imminent.

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The year 2020 is likely to be known not just as the year of the pandemic, but, unfortunately, also the year of record pedestrian accident deaths.  Those fatality numbers touched record highs during the first six months of 2020, in spite of the fact that fewer people were driving during this period of time.

According to the statistics released by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, while there were fewer vehicle miles driven during the first 6 months of 2020 due to the pandemic, there was an increase in the incidence of dangerous driving behaviors such as speeding and distracted driving. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association points to these factors as possible causes of the significant increase in pedestrian accident deaths during this time.

According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, which released a report titled Spotlight on Highway Safety, there was a 20% increase in pedestrian accident deaths, compared to a 5% increase in all other car accident fatalities, in the country from January to June 2020.

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In Georgia, initiatives continue to grow for less car and more pedestrian friendly areas throughout the state.  A new report, however, identifies the Metro Atlanta- Sandy Springs-Roswell area as one of the most dangerous areas for pedestrians in the country.

This alarming finding was part of a report that found a total of 1,160 pedestrian accidents in the Atlanta- Sandy Springs-Roswell area between 2010 and 2019. That makes it an average rate of approximately 2 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 pedestrians every day.

The list included the top 20 most dangerous areas for pedestrians in the country, and the Metro Atlanta region was the only area in Georgia that featured on the list. This region also had a Pedestrian Danger Index of 152.3. The Pedestrian Danger Index is a rating system that measures how dangerous it is for  pedestrians to walk in an area or state, based on the number of pedestrian deaths that occurred in these areas or states. The data specifically focused on pedestrian accident deaths that occurred between 2010 and 2019.  All data came from the Fatality Analysis reporting system.

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The Governor’s Highway Safety Association marked October as National Pedestrian Safety Month, even as pedestrian safety concerns loom in Atlanta.

Atlanta residents who frequently use Hollowell Parkway, a stretch of state highway that expands from Northside Drive to I-185 have been raising concerns about several pedestrian accidents in the area.  There are no pedestrian crossings on this approximately one-mile stretch of Hollowell Parkway. This means that pedestrians are put to great risk when they have to cross the street. As a result, there have been a number of accidents in the area.

Hollowell Parkway is a very busy highway, that is used very often by trucks. The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition calls this stretch one of the most dangerous roads in Atlanta. According to law enforcement, since 2016 alone, there have been as many as 7 pedestrian accidents on the stretch of road. During the same time, there have been 40 pedestrian injuries occurring on Hollowell Parkway.

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Across the nation, more towns and cities, including Atlanta, are trying to provide more pedestrian-friendly areas.  This in turn means that the potential for more pedestrian accidents exists.

In 2018, more than half of all pedestrian accidents occurred at intersections. These resulted in approximately 6,700 pedestrian injuries, and 1,500 pedestrian fatalities. This indicates the seriousness of the lack of safety measures taken at intersections.  However, studies have shown that simple infrastructure enhancements in these areas can help reduce those risks.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently reported on a study which found that simple enhancements like bollards and rubber curbs can help prevent pedestrians from crossing the street diagonally at intersections, thereby helping prevent many of the pedestrian accidents that result in fatalities every year.

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Lately, there have been quite a few news stories of people driving on the roads with excessive speed.  While most people are currently under shelter-in-place orders, this means that there are fewer cars on the road and less traffic to navigate.  In fact, pictures have been circulating widely of empty roadways in the usually most traffic congested cities.  This has resulted in some drivers taking advantage of the empty streets and pushing the envelope on speed limits.

In the metro-Atlanta area, this behavior has been seen both on the local streets in town as well as the area’s highways.   Some drivers are not only engaging in excessive speeding, but there are others that are actually racing on the streets.

This driving at excessive speeds has caused deadly accidents with devastating results.  Most recently in Atlanta, an 11 year-old child was struck and killed by a speeding driver, and a police officer was also killed in a deadly high speed accident.

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Ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft became very popular very quickly over the past few years.  Although people are not using these services as much recently due to the COVID-19 crisis, ride-sharing will most likely make a comeback once the current shelter-in-place restrictions are lifted.

Uber and Lyft have been around since 2010, and the rise of these ride-sharing services has proved very useful in helping reduce the incidence of drunk driving accidents. However, the rate of other accidents, including pedestrian accidents involving these cars, has actually increased.

Uber and Lyft became very popular among people wanting safe rides back home. These ride-sharing services have been found to be especially useful in helping curb the number of drunk drivers on our streets. Uber allows riders to hail rides if they are too drunk to drive themselves home. That translates into safer options for a person to get home and a reduced chance of being involved in a drunk driving accident. The rates of alcohol-related accidents in several cities have dropped as a direct result of intoxicated persons being encouraged to use Uber rides that are so easily available.

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Colleges are in essence their own communities and have specific pedestrian safety challenges as a result. Recently, the Georgia Department of Transportation has responded to some ongoing serious pedestrian safety issues at Georgia College.

There is usually no shortage of hectic pedestrian activity on any given college campus. Students are frequently traveling to and from their various classes and labs. They may also have to travel outside of the campus for recreational activities. Many campuses limit, or even not allow, certain students to have cars on campus which leaves students with limited options for transportation. Alternative transportation options can include walking or bicycling, both of which can be hazardous to do on campus. Unfortunately, accidents involving students who are walking or bicycling from their various activities or classes are far from uncommon.

One study conducted at Johns Hopkins University found that a total of 59 accidents were reported to campus authorities, and 12 percent of these were pedestrian accidents. Most of these pedestrian accidents occurred in the evening and late evening hours. Another study using data from the University of Arkansas also found at least 33 pedestrian accidents over the last few years. Surprisingly, as many as 25 percent of those accidents occurred when students were walking within a designated crosswalk.

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We all know distracted driving is dangerous and can cause deadly accidents, but distracted walking can be just as dangerous to both pedestrians and motorists alike.

Distracted walking includes activities such as texting or emailing while walking, using social media apps while walking, listening to music and even playing a game on the phone while walking.

These days with everyone constantly on their cell phones, distracted walking accidents are increasing at an alarming rate.  According to the National Safety Council, over 6000 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2018.   Statistics from the National Highway and Transportation Safety Association show that most of these pedestrian deaths occurred in urban areas, such as the metro Atlanta, on the open road, and at night.  The actual number of pedestrian injuries are probably even higher as these statistics focus on only the number of medically treated injuries and death.  The problem has gotten so bad that some cities and states have either banned using a cell phone while walking or will fine those who violate such laws.

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New data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals both good and bad news for drivers and pedestrians.

The good news is that the agency recorded an overall drop in traffic accident fatalities across the United States in 2018. The bad news is that while there was a drop in the number of people killed in car accidents in the country last year, there was actually an uptick in the number of bicycle and pedestrian fatalities during the same period of time.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there was a 2.4 percent drop in traffic accident deaths in 2018.  There were 36,560 traffic crash fatalities in 2018, compared to 37,473 deaths in 2018.  The fatality rate dropped from 1.17 in 2017 to 1.13 in 2018. This is also the lowest recorded fatality rate in five years.

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