While there were not as many drivers on Georgia’s roadways in 2020, the number of pedestrians dying on them increased nonetheless. Last year was a particularly deadly one for pedestrians, with pedestrian road deaths rising both in Georgia and at the national level. The widespread uptick in pedestrian deaths has many safety advocates thinking about what the state might do to make streets safer for those traveling on foot.
Per the Atlanta Constitution-Journal, Georgia pedestrian deaths increased by 4% in 2020. This increase occurred even though there was close to a 50%-reduction in how many motorists were on the roads.
The Georgia Department of Transportation contends that there are several factors contributing to the rising number of pedestrians dying on Georgia’s roads. Some drivers have become more prone to speeding because there have been fewer drivers on the roads. This has likely contributed to the increase in pedestrian fatalities. Motorists and passengers who fail to wear seat belts are also responsible to some degree. Impaired driving is also a frequent factor in crashes involving pedestrian deaths.
Pedestrian deaths are also rising nationally, although they are not rising as fast as pedestrian fatalities in Georgia. During the first six months of 2020, national pedestrian fatalities increased by 0.02%. However, between 2010 and 2019, the number of national pedestrian deaths rose an alarming 46%.
Pedestrians should be able to lower the chances of involvement in a crash by using crosswalks and waiting for walk signals. It is also smart for pedestrians to make eye contact with approaching motorists to help ensure the drivers see them.