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There is no doubt that pedestrians are the most vulnerable on our roads. Sharing the roads with much larger vehicles without any protection places them at a high risk. That is why Georgia and other states around the nation have specific traffic laws that regulate a pedestrian’s right-of-way. 

Unfortunately, the laws in place do not always protect pedestrians. Pedestrians still face the highest risk on our roads, and that danger only seems to be increasing.

Pedestrian deaths at a dangerous high

Back in February, CNBC News reported that pedestrian fatalities are the highest now than they have been in more than two decades. According to the article, the Governors Highway Safety Association reported that pedestrian deaths now make up 16% of nearly all traffic fatalities, with Georgia being one of the states attributing to about half of the pedestrian deaths in 2018.

There are several reasons for this alarming increase-namely smartphones. These devices often distract both drivers and pedestrians alike, making our roads an even more dangerous place than they already are. 

However, smartphones are not the only smart technology that is failing pedestrians. 

In-vehicle technologies are not helping to keep pedestrians safe

According to Consumer Reports, nearly one-third of all vehicles nowadays come with advanced technologies, such as:

  • Forward collision warning systems
  • Automatic emergency braking technology
  • Blind spot detection warnings

All of these technologies are supposed to help prevent accidents and traffic fatalities.

However, a new AAA study found that many vehicles do not detect pedestrians. AAA only tested four vehicles from different manufacturers, but all four vehicles failed to detect:

  • Children running into traffic;
  • Pedestrians crossing the road in the daytime or nighttime; or
  • Adults walking on the side of the road.

The combination of distractions from smartphones and the ineffectiveness of in-vehicle technologies is making our roads more dangerous for pedestrians, even when most technologies are trying to make them safer.

Remember: We are all pedestrians

Not everyone in Georgia is a motorist, but everyone at some point is a pedestrian. Therefore, it is everyone’s responsibility to help keep pedestrians safer. 

Unfortunately, pedestrians cannot always depend on drivers to notice them. Therefore, all pedestrians should ensure they take great care to:

  • Only cross in designated crosswalks;
  • Double-check that drivers see them before they cross;
  • Make sure they are visible; and
  • Not use their phones while walking.

Since pedestrians are the most vulnerable, drivers should be the ones to take responsibility. However, pedestrians must also ensure they are following traffic laws and taking the proper precautions to be safe.