This blog post by personal injury and wrongful death attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, a Gwinnett County law practice based in Lawrenceville, Georgia, addresses statistics released this week on pedestrian fatality accidents.
The Governors Highway Safety Association released its 2017 preliminary data on pedestrian traffic fatalities earlier this week. The report has some disturbing trends. Overall, nationwide pedestrian fatality numbers were virtually unchanged from 2016 with approximately 6,000 deaths in 2017. While other types of traffic fatalities have declined in the last decade, pedestrian fatalities have increased 27%.
Additionally, in states where marijuana has been legalized for recreational use pedestrian fatalities increased 16.4% in the first six months of 2017, while in states where marijuana is not legal for recreational use pedestrian fatalities declined 5.8%. While the marijuana statistics speak to correlation without proving causation, the general trend of an increase of pedestrian fatalities over the last decade is cause for concern and the marijuana statistics make one want to see longer term statistics to see if there is any significance to them.
Georgia had the sixth most pedestrian fatalities in the nation during the first six months of 2017, but our state's total was down 20% from 2016.
When looking through all of the statistics certain things stand out from a safety standpoint. The most pedestrian fatalities occur when it is dark outside and the highest percentage occur on local municipal streets (urban areas as opposed to highways, county roads, etc.). Additionally, smartphone use has continuously increased over the last decade.
These statistics leave open a lot of questions. Could the trend towards more urban, walkable communities be a contributing factor (are there more pedestrians now than a decade ago)? Could marijuana legalization pose a danger to pedestrians (it is against the law in Georgia not just to drive under the influence of alcohol, but to drive while under the influence of marijuana, See O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391(a)(2))? Is smartphone use a/k/a distracted driving a/k/a texting while driving a main contributing factor to the increased danger to pedestrians?
Please keep in mind the danger to pedestrians which seems to be increasing. Use safety precautions when walking near roadways, especially at nighttime.
If your or a loved one have been injured in a pedestrian accident in Georgia, please contact Gwinnett County based personal injury and wrongful death lawyer Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation.
Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.