Since 2009, pedestrian deaths nationwide have gone up 15 percent. In 2013, one pedestrian was killed every two hours for a total of 4,735 pedestrian fatalities over the course of the year. The majority of pedestrian crash victims were men (70 percent of those killed were male), and most victims were middle aged, with an average age of 46.
In light of rising fatalities, the Governors Highway Safety Administration announced that a comprehensive new report was created to provide states with 21 different actions they could take to help make the roads safer for walkers. It is unclear what action, if any, Georgia will take to try to improve road conditions.
Ultimately, drivers will largely remain responsible for their own decisions and should be sure to drive carefully so they do not put motorists at risk. If a pedestrian accident occurs and causes injuries or leads to a fatality, an Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyer can provide representation to victims or surviving family members.
How to Prevent Atlanta Pedestrian Accidents
The new reported cited by GHSA was prepared by a traffic safety expert and was guided by a panel of researchers, safety advocates, and state and federal officials. GHSA indicates that a key finding in the report suggested: “communities should be allowed to reduce speed limits or establish slow speed zones in areas with a history of pedestrian-motor vehicle crashes as well as in neighborhoods with schools, parks, day care, and senior centers.”
Cities including Seattle, Portland, and New York have implemented this type of slow speed zone in many different areas and, as a result, lives have been saved. Atlanta could consider slow zones in its high-risk areas to help stop drivers from hitting and killing pedestrians.
The report also listed many other policies that states should consider implementing to provide broader protection to pedestrians. These include:
- Vulnerable user laws: These laws create a new offense that is more severe than a traffic citation but less severe than a vehicular manslaughter or negligent homicide offense. A license is suspended, community service required, a larger fine is imposed, and community service and/or driver training are mandated when drivers injure or kill vulnerable road users (pedestrians are defined as vulnerable users). These laws typically require motorists to give pedestrians a buffer up to three feet and to slow down when approaching or passing a pedestrian. Ten states already have vulnerable user laws, but Georgia is not one of them.
- Complete streets plans: Complete streets plans focus not just on cars when designing roads, but also on all road users including pedestrians. By considering the needs of all road users when creating construction and road expansion or development plans, roads are safer for pedestrians from the start.
- Better education and enforcement. Police officers need to be better educated about what the rules are, the importance of enforcement, and how to engage with violators. Drivers need to be aware of the rules and understand that they will be enforced.
These are just a few of the myriad recommendations made to improve the safety of the road for all users and to cut down on deadly pedestrian accidents. An attorney with experience in accident cases can provide assistance in situations where drivers do not follow any road safety rules or are negligent in a manner resulting in a pedestrian collision.
The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury caused by a negligent driver. Call today at 404-991-5950 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.