If you’ve seen any headlines about pedestrian safety over the past couple of years, then you’re probably concerned. Pedestrian deaths have increased dramatically, and experts have been looking for explanations.
In 2017, NPR warned us, “Distraction, On Street And Sidewalk, Helps Cause Record Pedestrian Deaths.” They talked about an 11 percent increase in pedestrian deaths on U.S. roads. It was the biggest single-year jump in two decades.
That’s unsettling, and the following year showed no improvement.
“Pedestrian Fatalities Remain At 25-Year High For Second Year In A Row,” NPR said nearly one year later. The Governors Highway Safety Association again found that there were nearly 6,000 pedestrians killed on our roads.
Some news outlets like Wired probed for answers. It looked at factors including an aging population, economic recovery, faster cars and, of course, smartphones. All of these factors are reasonable explanations, though studies soon showed another surprising contributor – the increase in SUVs on our roads.
“What’s behind the 81 percent rise in pedestrians killed by SUVs?” asked NBC News. Reporters found that not only are SUVs more likely to cause pedestrians harm in a collision, but they also became more common on our roads during this increase in pedestrian deaths.
Georgia Also Faces an Increase in Pedestrian Deaths
Like the U.S., Georgia has had a big jump in pedestrian deaths. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that the first few months of 2018 saw a 16 percent increase in pedestrian deaths in Georgia from the year before. The AJC reported that hit-and-run accidents were also increasing in the state, which ranked fourth nationally for the number of hit-and-run crashes, according to AAA.
There are many reasons why pedestrians are suffering higher death rates in Georgia and the rest of the country. Experts will continue to look for answers. For the rest of us, it’s important to think about what we can do to reverse this trend.
What Drivers Can Do To Keep Pedestrians Safe
Most safe-driving tips involve following the rules of the road and using common sense, and that is especially true when your goal is to protect pedestrians. It never hurts to revisit the basics. That includes…
- Avoiding all distractions while driving, including smartphones or distracting activities, such as adjusting your radio, eating, drinking or looking at yourself in the mirror.
- Being cautious when driving near school buses and school zones.
- Slowing down when driving in areas with greater pedestrian traffic.
- Not assuming that a pedestrian sees you turning. Always give them the right-of-way.
What Pedestrians Can Do To Protect Themselves
- When possible, walk on sidewalks and cross roads at designated crossings.
- If walking late at night, wear reflective or brightly-lit clothing.
- Avoid walking with headphones or while looking at your phone.
- Don’t assume a driver sees you when crossing the street. If possible, make eye contact with the driver before crossing.
Pedestrian Accidents are Preventable
The news hasn’t been good for pedestrians, but we can make our streets safer. Crashes of all types are almost always caused by human error. Alcohol plays a role in nearly half of all fatal pedestrian collisions, so anyone that has been drinking should avoid driving and, if possible, walking. Public transportation, rideshare services or taxis are all better forms of transportation if you’ve been drinking alcohol.
Though we can control our own actions, we can’t control others’. If you’ve been injured by a careless driver, you deserve compensation for the costs of your injury. At the Mann Law Firm, we help clients get the payment they deserve. To schedule a free consultation, contact David Mann to learn more about your legal options.