Based on population, Georgia ranked 13th in the nation for pedestrian accident fatalities in 2012, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The total pedestrian fatalities in 2012 were 167, up from 124 the previous year.

In mid-August 2012, when pedestrian fatalities were already on track to exceed the previous year's total, Meg Pirkle, Georgia DOT's director of operations, commented to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "The numbers are up. It's certainly a concern for us. We have to provide safe routes for all users, pedestrian or not." Read on for more Georgia pedestrian accident statistics.

Georgia Pedestrian Fatalities Higher Than National Average

According to the NHTSA, the nationwide average for pedestrian fatalities in 2012 was 1.51 fatalities per 100,000 population. Pedestrian accident statistics in Georgia indicate the rate was higher; 1.68 pedestrian fatalities for every 100,000 population.

In 2012, 167 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in Georgia, according to the NHTSA. This means that one person is killed while walking in Georgia roughly every two days. Approximately 50 percent of these accidents occurred on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, according to the DOT.

It’s not just Georgia, though. The numbers across the nation are quite staggering. In 2012, nearly 4,800 pedestrians lost their lives in traffic accidents, and 76,000 were injured, a six percent increase from the year prior, the NHTSA reports.

Reasons for Pedestrian Accident Incidence

City planners and government traffic agencies cite several possible causes for the large number of pedestrian accidents in the state. “National studies show more Americans are walking for exercise, to avoid paying higher gas prices or because they prefer urban lifestyles. But in car-centric regions like Atlanta, finding a way for drivers and pedestrians to coexist has long been a challenge,” wrote the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain that most pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas at night at non-intersections. Alcohol is also a major factor in pedestrian traffic accidents. In fact, more than one-third of all pedestrians aged 16 and older who were killed in traffic accidents in 2003 had a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 g/dl, reported the NHTSA and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

Georgia cities are well known for their congestion and many residents cite a shortage of safe, marked crosswalks. These types of conditions can make the roads a very dangerous place for pedestrians.

Below are a few other possible underlying causes for pedestrian accidents in the state.

  • Crosswalks are too few and far between. This causes pedestrians to cross at dangerous sections of the road.
  • Poorly marked crosswalks
  • Dense population
  • Large number of low-income apartment residents who rely on public transportation or walking as their primary means of transportation, and must cross dangerous roads to reach their destinations or bus stops.
  • Lack of adequate sidewalks
  • Drivers and pedestrians unaware of Georgia pedestrian laws

Georgia DOT’s Plan to Prevent Pedestrian Accidents

In response to the rising number of pedestrian accidents in the state, the Georgia DOT created a Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Action Plan to address the issues and manage risk.

Some of the Georgia DOT’s goals and objectives are listed below.

  • Encourage more people to travel by bicycle and foot.
  • Develop educational/promotional programs to encourage walking and biking.
  • Obtain more funding for bicycle/pedestrian safety projects.
  • Improve infrastructure.
  • Improve roadway designs.
  • Create better methods of managing and calming traffic.
  • Improve traffic signs and signals.

Free Consult with an Attorney in Atlanta

If you or a loved one was injured in a pedestrian traffic accident in Georgia, consult an attorney to discuss your legal options for pursuing compensation. For a free legal consultation in Atlanta with a pedestrian accident lawyer, contact the Law Office of Jason Schultz today at 404-474-0804.