The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has released a report, Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State: 2017 Preliminary Data, as part of its Spotlight on Highway Safety campaign. Although nationwide the number of traffic deaths of motor vehicle occupants went down by 14 percent between 2007 and 2016, the number of pedestrian deaths went up by 27 percent during that same period. In fact, for the past two years, pedestrian fatalities have been higher than they had been for over 30 years.
Are the Number of Pedestrian Traffic Deaths Increasing or Decreasing in Georgia?
Thankfully, Georgia is not following the nationwide trend. The preliminary 2017 data shows that the number of pedestrian fatalities in Georgia went down by 20 deaths, from 112 in the first half of 2016 to 92 in the same time period of 2017. This is a 17.9 percent decrease.
However, the report authors caution that you should not assume the statistics for the entire 2017 year will be double the preliminary data for the first half of the year. Their preliminary data often contains inaccurate information because states sometimes underreport their preliminary data, leading the fatality rates of walkers to differ throughout the year.
The GHSA estimates that the total number of pedestrian traffic fatalities actually went down only slightly over the course of 2017, from 5,987 to 5,984, which is a decrease of about one half of one percent from 2016.
Why Are There More Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities Now?
The report raises the possibility that the following may coincide with higher pedestrian traffic fatalities:
- Increased use of cell phones (e.g., texting and driving, texting and walking)
- The legalization of marijuana
Does Georgia Have High Fatality Numbers Just Because of Our Large Population?
No. The report “compares apples to apples” by factoring the population into the raw numbers, to calculate the rate — not just the total number — of pedestrian traffic fatalities. Georgia was #13 on the 2016 list of states with the highest pedestrian fatality rates per 100,000 population. The average rate in the United States was 1.92 pedestrian fatalities, and Georgia’s rate was 2.25. The three states with the worst rates were New Mexico (3.45), Florida (3.22), and South Carolina (2.96).
Georgia’s pedestrian fatality rate (PFR) fell in the first half of 2017 as compared to the first half of 2016, but this is, again, based on preliminary data. Georgia was #16 on the PFR table for the first six months of 2017, with a rate of 0.88.
Call Jason R. Schultz After a Pedestrian Accident
If you or a loved one suffered severe or fatal injuries after a pedestrian accident, you are not alone. Please call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. so that we can help you whenever you are ready. Contact us at 404-474-0804 for a free consultation.