Articles Posted in Pedestrian accidents

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The number of pedestrians has been increasing all throughout Georgia as more people choose to walk for health or recreational reasons. The City of Atlanta has especially taken extra efforts to become a more walker friendly town.  Therefore, as a pedestrian, you should be aware of the protections and rights afforded to you under Georgia laws. Learning about these laws will help you obey traffic rules as well as keep you safe.

First of all, pedestrians have the right of way on a marked crosswalk in Georgia. If you are already waking on the crosswalk, then all motorists must stop and yield to you. The law requires the driver of a car to stop and remain stopped while the pedestrian is crossing the road.  The motorist can only resume driving when the pedestrian has safely completed crossing. This essentially means that a motorist can’t try to squeeze by you, or barely give you any room to squeeze by them while they are on the road.

However, the picture becomes different when you are crossing the road outside of a designated crosswalk. Now, the motorist’s have the right of way which means that you must yield to motorists who are driving.  As a pedestrian, you also have the duty to look in both directions to first make sure that the street is safe to cross – a lesson that we all learned as children.  This does not mean that a motorist can continue to speed towards you though.  A driver still has the duty to avoid hitting a pedestrian if he or she is already in the process of crossing the street.   A driver also must anticipate that a pedestrian could attempt to cross the street at any point, and has the duty to warn a pedestrian of their approach by honking the horn or give some other type of warning.

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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.

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The metro Atlanta area has seen an increase in the number of people who choose to walk for recreation.  While this is good news, it also, unfortunately, means that there has been an increase in the number of deaths that occur in accidents involving motor vehicles and pedestrians. With more and more distracted drivers on Atlanta’s roads, this upward tick is only going to continue.    In fact, some pedestrian advocacy groups say that unless authorities take drastic steps, those fatality numbers could reach unthinkable highs by 2020.

According to statistics, the metro Atlanta area, which encompasses 20 counties, has seen an increase in pedestrian accident deaths from 1,700 in 2006 to more than 2,500 in 2015. That is an increase of a whopping 53 percent.  This also mirrors a nationwide increase in pedestrian accident fatalities that has safety advocates very alarmed.

There has been a growing trend across the metro Atlanta area for a more walkable lifestyle, which includes being able to walk or bicycle to work. Oftentimes, however, pedestrians must walk on roads that are not designed for walking or bicycling.  These types of roads can include those without (or too narrow) sidewalks or bike lanes, multi-lane roads and over congested roads.  Some of the more dangerous roads in the metro Atlanta area include Buford Highway, Tara Boulevard, Piedmont Road and Peachtree Road, just to name a few.  Roads such as these can place a pedestrian at an increased risk of being involved in an accident with a motor vehicle.   Not surprisingly, when a pedestrian is involved in such an accident, it usually results in serious injuries, or even death, to the pedestrian.  In certain parts of Atlanta, such as the densely populated intown areas, fatalities have increased significantly over the past several years.  In these dense areas, the roads have been designed to move traffic along as speedily as possible. Unfortunately, pedestrians often find that their safety needs are not necessarily considered when improvements are made to road design.

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It is no secret that pedestrian fatality numbers in the state are on the rise. According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, in 2017 alone 1,454 pedestrians died in accidents across the Georgia.

As the number of pedestrian accidents in Georgia continues to increase every year at least, one community is taking firm steps to reduce those deadly statistics. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety recently lauded the community of Macon for the steps that the city is taking to reduce pedestrian fatalities. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety recently announced a grant of $20,785 to the city of Macon and its On the Move campaign.

The city of Macon has seen more than its share of pedestrian accident fatalities.  In fact, it was recently ranked second in Georgia in the number of pedestrian fatalities per capita. In response to those alarming statistics, the city’s administrators have put their heads together to announce a new initiative. The Macon Commissioner recently formed the Macon-Bibb Pedestrian Safety Review Board to analyze pedestrian accident fatalities across the community. One of the Board’s first initiatives is the Cross the Walk campaign. The campaign is designed to inform and educate people about safe and responsible ways of crossing the street.

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Climate change has been in the news for years now regarding its effects on weather related tragedies.  From eroding coastlines, rising poverty levels and soaring temperatures -climate change is blamed for an entire range of global disasters. Every region on the globe, including Georgia, has seen dramatic shifts in its weather.  However, could these changes in weather also be linked to increasing highway accident fatality numbers?

It appears that they could. Traffic safety experts have been trying to understand why road accident fatality numbers have been increasing since 2015, after several decades of a downward trend in fatality numbers. Earlier, safety experts focused on increasing rates of cell phone use by motorists as the leading factor causing this increase. However, they were later able to debunk that theory because there was no increase in smartphone use during the period of time that they studied.  They then changed their focus to another possible factor-the weather.

Temperature increases are likely to be at least partly the reason why we are seeing an increase in the number of people dying in traffic accidents. Warmer weather simply means more people out on the road. People drive, walk, bicycle and ride their motorcycles more in warmer weather, than in wet or snowy weather. The experts found in their analysis that pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists –   people who are much more likely to be out walking, riding or bicycling during warmer weather – accounted for a large percentage of traffic accident fatality fatalities during the study period.

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Walking has probably never been more dangerous in the United States.  In 2016, the number of pedestrian fatalities increased for the second consecutive year. What’s more, those fatality numbers are at alarming new highs.

Pedestrian fatality statistics are especially bleak in the state of Georgia. Georgia was one of eleven states that had fatality rates equal to one or more per 100,000 people. Georgia had a rate of 1.06 fatalities per 100,000 population between January and June 2016.

Data released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) showed that projected pedestrian accident fatality numbers increased by approximately 11% between 2015 and 2016 – the biggest year-to-year spike since the organization began tracking those numbers. In the first half of 2016, there were 2,660 fatalities in pedestrian accidents. During the same period of time in 2015, there were 2,486 fatalities. The report projected a 22% increase in pedestrian fatalities in 2016 from 2014.

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Bicycle accidents take a heavy toll on the US economy. Now, a new study finds that these crashes cost the American economy more than $24 billion a year in health care and other costs. What’s worse, the study also finds that those costs have been steadily increasing over the years.

Researchers focused on fatal and non-fatal bicycle accidents across the country between 1999 and 2013. They found that during this period of time, there were a total of 3.8 million non-fatal bicycle accident injuries and nearly 10,000 bicycle accident fatalities. Researchers also found an alarming 120% increase in the number of hospital admissions related to bicycle accidents.

There is a specific reason why costs associated with bicycle accidents, especially healthcare costs, have been increasing the way they have. Accidents involving older bicyclists are one of those factors. Accident-related costs involving cyclists over the age of 45 contribute heavily to those expenses, because these crashes are usually involve longer hospital stays, and higher recovery times after accidents.

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The horrifying fatal school bus accident in Chattanooga in November that killed five children has highlighted the frailties in the system that make it difficult to track accidents and take steps to effectively prevent similar deadly crashes.

In November, a bus left Woodmore Elementary School with approximately 37 students on board, crashed into a tree, and flipped over. Six children were killed, and several others injured, including six who were injured seriously enough to be rushed to the intensive care unit. The driver of the bus was arrested on charges of vehicle homicide. At least one of the children on the bus was a kindergartner.

According to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), this year alone, there have been at least 700 accidents involving metro Atlanta school buses, or approximately 2 crashes a day.  However, that data may be incomplete.  Officials admit that the database lacks data on many accidents, and this makes it difficult for officials to track accident rates, pinpoint causes, and take steps to eliminate these accidents. Those steps include retraining school drivers, strengthening training and safety standards, and identifying accident trends in particular areas. Better accident data could also help identify dangerous drivers, who can then be removed from the system.

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With summer here we are reminded that some victims of dog bites seem to have it much harder than others. Children below the age of five, and postal workers are at a much higher risk of dog bites, especially during summer days.

During summer, dogs are much more likely to be out with their owners, or may be left off their leash, and that places postal workers at a much higher risk of bites. National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which this year was marked in the third week of May, focused specifically on educating people about the risks of dog bites. The U.S. Postal Service estimates that more than 5,500 postal employees suffered bites in 2013.

Children are also frequently injured during summer because they are out of school, and may be in playgrounds, parks or other places where dogs are being walked. Children are also much more likely to pet strange dogs, or to display other behavior that could be risky, and could lead to an attack.

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Georgia looks set to record a decline in pedestrian fatalities in 2014. During the first six months of 2014, those numbers dropped to 50 pedestrian fatalities, from 76 fatalities during the same period of time in 2013.

The statistics were released by the Governors Highway Safety Association, which presented its pedestrian fatality data for 2014. The report has certain interesting findings.For example, it shows that pedestrian fatalities are now much more likely to occur in urban areas.Back in 1975, approximately 59% of pedestrian fatalities occurred in urban areas, and that number increased to 73% by 2013.

One statistic has remained consistent since 1975. Males account for approximately 70% of all fatalities.