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Jason R. Schultz P.C

Georgia Driving Laws Applied to Drivers in Regard to Pedestrian Safety

A collision between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian can result in devastating consequences. Although fault could be with either party, it’s important that drivers are aware of Georgia's laws that apply to keeping pedestrians safe. Violations could lead to more than just a ticket; it could result in serious injuries to pedestrians.

Driving Laws Pertaining to Pedestrians and Crosswalks

Whenever a pedestrian is using a crosswalk, the driver must stop and remain stopped until the person has finished crossing. Even if it appears safe to enter the crosswalk, it is illegal to do so until the individual has exited the crosswalk.

Pedestrians have the right of way whenever in a crosswalk on the driver’s side of the road (all lanes of traffic going the same direction). Even if there are two lanes and the pedestrian is in the first lane, a vehicle in the second lane can’t quickly squeeze or pass.

If the pedestrian is in the crosswalk on the other side of the road (the lanes of traffic going the opposite direction) and is within one lane of the driver’s side of the road, the pedestrian has the right of way. For instance, if there are two lanes going opposite directions on an Atlanta street and a pedestrian is in the lane approaching the driver’s side of the road, the driver must stop.

Vehicles must stop behind the crosswalk, not in the middle of it or past it. This not only prevents the pedestrian from having to walk into traffic, but also makes sure that another vehicle approaching in the next lane won’t be hindered from seeing the pedestrian. Which brings up another portion of the law: a driver cannot overtake and pass a vehicle that has stopped for a pedestrian.

Although pedestrians almost always have the right of way in a crosswalk (marked or unmarked), it’s different when they aren’t using a crosswalk. If a pedestrian crosses a road not using a crosswalk, vehicles have the right of way. Of course, if the person has already started to cross and a vehicle approaches, the driver would have to yield to avoid a collision.

It’s also illegal for a pedestrian to cross at an intersection with traffic control signals anywhere other than the crosswalk; for instance, crossing in the middle of the road.

Driving Laws Pertaining to Traffic Signals

If a vehicle approaches an intersection and the light is circular green – whether  intending to turn left or right – the vehicle must yield the right of way to pedestrians who have legally entered the crosswalk. The driver must completely stop. If it’s a green arrow signal, the driver must use caution when entering the intersection, and again, must stop if the pedestrian is within the crosswalk.

Drivers should be aware of pedestrian control signals and what they mean. If the symbol or word “Walk” has signaled, the pedestrian should cross. All vehicles must stop and stay stopped until the person has finished crossing. If the symbols or words “Don’t Walk” are flashing or steady, the pedestrian should not enter the crosswalk. However, if the pedestrian is already in the crosswalk when the “Don’t Walk” flashes or remains steady, he/she can finish crossing.

It’s important for drivers to understand that a flashing “Don’t Walk” signal pertains to pedestrians only. It’s not a signal that indicates the vehicle has the right of way.

How Driving Laws May Impact a Pedestrian Accident Case

The laws can help determine fault in a motor vehicle-pedestrian accident. A citation may be given to the person in violation, which can be valuable evidence against a motorist who fails to yield the right of way to a pedestrian who is legally in a crosswalk, for example, and strikes the pedestrian.

For help exploring your rights in this type of accident and how driving laws in Atlanta may apply, contact attorney Jason R. Schultz. Call (404) 474-0804.

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