In the first half of 2018, more than 130 pedestrians were killed in accidents on Georgia streets. The rise in pedestrian deaths in Georgia follows growth in such accidents across the country. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, pedestrian fatalities increased by 35% between 2008 and 2017.
Researchers say it is unclear why Georgia is seeing a spike in pedestrian deaths, but that several factors are contributing to these accidents across the country:
Atlanta and its suburbs have seen rapid growth over the last several years, likely contributing to the increase in accidents involving pedestrians. According to GHSA consultant Richard Retting, fast-growing suburban areas are especially dangerous for pedestrians because drivers often do not watch for people crossing the street.
Both drivers and pedestrians are more likely to be on their phones today than ever before. This distraction poses a significant risk for pedestrians, who are more likely to sustain severe injuries in an accident with a motor vehicle.
In response to the increase in traffic accidents involving cell phone use, the Georgia Legislature passed a new Hands-Free law that went into effect in July 2018. Whether enforcing hands-free cell phone use will reduce the number of accidents involving pedestrians remains to be seen.
Increase in number of SUVs
Researchers have also attributed higher rates of pedestrian fatalities to a rise in the number of SUVs on the road. The Governors Highway Safety Association reported that between 2013 and 2018 pedestrian fatalities involving SUVs increased by 50%. Due to their size, an accident with an SUV is more likely to cause serious injury or death for a pedestrian.
Pedestrians involved in a motor vehicle accident should seek medical attention right away, and then seek the help of a personal injury attorney. If driver negligence played a role in the crash, the injured pedestrian might be entitled to compensation.