Georgia is unfortunately one of the most dangerous states for people on foot, with 342 pedestrian deaths in 2022. This is one of the highest pedestrian fatality rates in the country, and it has been on the rise. According to the latest data from the Governors Highway Safety Association, Georgia's pedestrian fatalities increased by 57.8% from January-June 2019 to January-June 2022.
National Pedestrian Safety Month kicks off in October, making this the ideal time to review some high-risk areas in North Georgia and the Tennessee border. We will also discuss some safety tips to help you avoid dangerous situations.
Recent Pedestrian Tragedies in North Georgia
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), 95% of pedestrian deaths happen outside a crosswalk. Wittingly or unwittingly, pedestrians often put themselves at risk when they walk outside the lines.
This was the case in early June when a pedestrian was killed on I-75 in Calhoun. Georgia State Patrol said the man stopped his vehicle on the right shoulder of the highway to secure a loose pipe hanging from his trailer but was standing in the right lane when a vehicle traveling in the same lane accidentally struck and killed him.
The tragedy underscores the need to demonstrate caution and move your vehicle (and yourself) entirely off the road and onto the shoulder for any necessary stop.
Similarly, others tempt fate by being in restricted locations. This was the case at 9 p.m. on August 28, when a person was walking on train tracks near West Avenue and S. Erwin Street, mere blocks from Pritchard Injury Firm’s Cartersville office. The individual was struck by a train which could not stop in time.
Assuming this tragedy was an accident on the part of the pedestrian, let it serve as an example of what to avoid. Despite the guard rails being down, if one ventures too far away, the warning signs may be out of sight and earshot and end in tragedy.
Calling Out Distractions
Pritchard Injury Firm has previously discussed distracted driving, which is certainly a cause of pedestrian accidents and fatalities. GDOT confirmed 16,238 crashes were caused by distracted driving in 2021, 68 of which were fatal.
But drivers are not the only ones who are distracted. From storefronts, passing cars, and our own thoughts to phones and mobile devices, cigarettes, and headphones – our senses can be obscured too easily. GDOT’s “See and Be Seen” campaign notes that 79% of fatalities are attributed to pedestrians, who may be distracted or not observing traffic laws.
As simple as it may sound, focusing on one thing at a time will ensure everyone can reach their destination unharmed. This is particularly tantamount at night when GDOT notes that 84% of pedestrian deaths occur.
Safety Tips and Resources
Pedestrian safety is a serious matter – studies indicate that 9-out-of-10 pedestrians struck by a vehicle at 40 miles per hour will die. Avoid becoming a statistic by following these NHTSA safety tips:
● Whenever possible, walk on the sidewalk; if no sidewalk is available, walk facing traffic
● Follow the rules of the road, obeying all traffic signs and signals
● Cross streets at crosswalks
● If no crosswalk is available and your view is blocked, move to a place where you can see oncoming traffic
● Look left, right, and left again before crossing the street, making eye contact with drivers of oncoming vehicles to make sure they see you
● Stay alert – avoid cell phone use and wearing earbuds
● Avoid alcohol and drug impairment when walking
● Wear bright and/or reflective clothing, and use a flashlight at night
● Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways or backing up in parking lots
● Children younger than 10 should cross the street with an adult
We must improve the culture of safety in Georgia and Tennessee, and we can start by being more alert during National Pedestrian Safety Month and practicing these strategies year-round.
Your GA/TN Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Understanding liability in pedestrian accidents is crucial for victims seeking fair compensation for their injuries and losses. In Georgia and Tennessee, pedestrian accident cases involve intricate legal considerations, and multiple parties may share liability.
If you or a loved one were injured while on foot due to the negligence of another, our attorneys are here to help. The mission of Pritchard Injury Firm is to provide you and your family with the highest quality of legal help available and a professional, stress-free experience. Contact us today.