Articles Posted in Pedestrian accidents

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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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Children of all ages love Halloween. Between the costumes, the parties, and let’s not forget the candy, what’s not to like about Halloween if you are a kid.  But did you know that Halloween is actually the deadliest day of the year for children?  Children are twice as likely to be hit by a car on this day than any other day of the year.  And many of these accidents result in fatal injuries.

In fact, the National Safety Council ranks October as the second dangerous month of the year for children, due in large part to Halloween accidents. To keep your children safe while they are trick or treating this Halloween, here are some tips to make sure everyone enjoys the festivities.

First, your child’s costume should be bright and reflective.  You may even want to consider adding reflective strips to your child’s costume and have your child carry a flashlight.  At a minimum, have them wear glow-in-the-dark accessories or a glow stick to make them more visible.  The deadliest hours of trick-or-treating occurs during the time frame of 5:00 to 9:00 when daylight fades and turns into night.    Although many Halloween costumes lean towards the dark and ghoulish, a bright costume will make sure your child is visible and easily seen by motorist and will help to keep them safe.

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There is no doubt that the metro-Atlanta area is growing by leaps and bounds.  With that growth comes increased traffic, congestion, and unfortunately motor vehicle accidents.   Some of these accidents can be deadly, especially when a pedestrian is involved.

DeKalb County is the second most dangerous county for pedestrians in Georgia, second only to Fulton County. In fact, between 2014 and 2016, there were a total of 67 pedestrian accident fatalities in DeKalb County. Pedestrian deaths, during this period of time, accounted for around one- third of all traffic accident fatalities in the county.

Alarmed by these statistics, officials at DeKalb County have decided to take firm and strategic action to reduce the number of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents, and make the county roads safer for all. DeKalb County Health Board officials are discussing ways to reduce these fatalities with Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety officials, as well as representatives from the DeKalb County Police Department and other concerned pedestrian safety advocates.

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Roundabouts, or traffic circles, are becoming more and more popular with city planners lately to improve traffic flow and overall road safety.  In fact, you’ve probably run into one while driving in a residential area or around the local roads in your community.

Roundabouts have been around for decades, but are gaining more traction as an effective alternative to conventional traffic lights.  In a traditional roundabout, vehicles travel in one counterclockwise direction around a center island.  Vehicles that are entering the roundabout yield to those already in the traffic circle, and there are usually lanes for vehicles to exit the traffic circle onto their desired street.

The most common types of accidents that occur in traditional intersections are left-turn, t-one, and head-on collisions.  Roundabouts have been found to be very effective in intersections that involve high-crash locations, multiple left-turn configurations, and prolonged traffic light cycles.  In fact, some states, such as New York and Virginia, have opted to consider roundabouts as the first option for road planning versus conventional traffic lights.  There are even some smaller islands and regions where traffic lights have been replaced altogether by roundabouts.  Other benefits of traffic circles include reduced fuel consumption and emissions since car spend less time idling at traffic lights.

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Georgia has seen an increase in bicyclist on the roads in the past several years.  While the state laws have a few protections in place for bicyclists, the city of Dunwoody is going one step further and proposing a new law that have even tougher penalties for dangerous drivers, and make the roads safer for bicyclists.

The Dunwoody ordinance was introduced by City Councilman Tom Lambert.  Currently, Georgia laws require that vehicles maintain a distance of a minimum of 3 feet while passing bicyclists.  However, the ordinance would extend that provision to 6 feet, and would add trucks and commercial vehicles to the law.  These vehicles would be required to maintain a distance of a minimum of 6 feet while passing bicyclists.

The ordinance also proposes stiffer penalties for motorists who fail to respect the rights of bicyclists. It goes further than any other such similar ordinances passed elsewhere in the state, because it specifically targets motorists who engage in intimidating and harassing actions towards bicyclists. As many cyclists in Atlanta know, cyclists are far too vulnerable to road rage incidents, and are most likely to become victims of aggressive driving or harassment. Unfortunately, many motorists believe that the roads were created exclusively for the use of four-wheelers and passenger cars, and many do not respect bicyclist rights.  Despite encouraging everyone to “share the road,” not all do.

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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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