The sources that serve as injury catalysts when it comes to motor vehicle accident outcomes in the Atlanta metro area and across Georgia are many and diverse.
State motorists intimately know that, of course. They are well aware of the outsized dangers posed by large commercial trucks that whiz by on freeways and interstates. They recognize the singular perils featuring for motorcyclists and their passengers, who comprise an especially vulnerable behind-the-wheel demographic. The risks for bicyclists are understandably even more pronounced.
And they are largest of all for pedestrians, who figuratively and literally stand alone as members of a group that is unquestionably the most susceptible to catastrophic and fatal injury in any vehicle accident.
What do Georgia pedestrian fatality numbers centrally underscore?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration collects and closely analyzes traffic-linked fatalities that occur each year in all states spanning the country. Statistics relevant to adverse vehicle crash outcomes for pedestrians in Georgia from 2018 (the most recently measured accident/injury period) are notable and eminently sobering. They include these key takeaways:
- 253 pedestrian deaths, which comprises nearly one-fifth of all traffic-tied deaths from every source
- Stunning 60% spike in pedestrian fatalities over a 5-year period
- Distracted driving behaviors topped by cellphones being “a major factor in the increase of pedestrian deaths”
- Exponential jump in pedestrian fatalities despite a consecutive-years’ decrease in state traffic deaths overall
A dive down into some pedestrian data relevant to Atlanta
The Atlanta Magazine published an article spotlighting metro-area safety concerns for walkers in late 2018. Although being somewhat dated, that in-depth piece continues to be relevant and informative concerning its vitally important subject matter. Following are a few key takeaways:
- Metro street design promotes vehicle speed and traffic movement, which renders walking problematic and often flatly dangerous
- Particular streets and intersections are especially risky for pedestrians; reportedly, 70%-plus of all walker deaths occur within just a few select areas
- Road projects frequently result in the elimination of sidewalks
- Bike lane creation is often criticized for being prohibitively costly
One manager from Atlanta’s regulatory Regional Commission lamented in the Atlanta Magazine piece that the metro region is “on the verge of a crisis” concerning pedestrian and bicyclist safety. A noted safety advocate stressed that city streets “are dangerous by design.”
Such alarming sentiments are not being conveyed to an impassive and indifferent audience. The Regional Commission – which commands plenary safety oversight and rulemaking powers – is solidly on board with goals pronounced by other cities following the so-called Vision Zero model. Among other things, that safety initiative pursues the ambitious aim of reducing all traffic-linked deaths to zero by 2030.