Georgia Pedestrian Fatality Accidents Increased in the First Half of Last Year

This blog post by Georgia personal injury lawyer Richard Armond discusses an article in today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution (linked here) regarding an increase in pedestrian fatalities in the first half of last year.

The article notes that Georgia saw 130 pedestrian deaths in the first six months of 2018, which is up 32 percent from the same period in 2017. The article further mentions that nationally pedestrian fatalities increased, but only by three percent.

The article lists factors affecting the numbers in Georgia which include, among other things, population growth, the amount of time people spend walking, and drivers distracted by smartphones. Georgia’s population, and especially metro Atlanta’s, have been growing rapidly for decades. I think it is likely that greater population combined with more walkable environments are a major factor in the increase in fatalities.

In recent years in Atlanta and surrounding cities such as Decatur, Lawrenceville, Marietta, Norcross, Suwanee, Buford, and many others, we have seen a revitalization of downtown areas with restaurants and shops with a much greater emphasis on walkable areas. Instead of going to the mall, a lot of people now like to shop and dine in live, work, and play mixed-use areas and are on foot a lot more than a decade ago.

Drivers and pedestrians both must keep in mind the apparent dangers and use traffic safety skills to avoid harm. It will be interesting to see what the final statistics show for the second half of 2018. If you recall, the new Georgia hands-free law went into effect on July 1, 2018. The statistics in the article only cover the six months immediately prior to that new law going into effect. Perhaps, if drivers distracted by smartphones are partially to blame, we will see the number of Georgia pedestrian wrongful death accidents decrease or at least stop increasing in the future with the advent of that new law.

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a Georgia pedestrian accident, please contact Gwinnett County based personal injury 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.

Georgia Governor Signs into Law a Fixed School Bus Safety Statute

Today in Atlanta, the Governor of Georgia signed a bill fixing last year’s school bus passing law, according to a report by WSB-TV. A full reading of the text of Senate Bill 25 can be found on the Georgia General Assembly’s website.

The bill amends O.C.G.A. § 40‑6-163, which last year written in a manner that made it no longer a violation to pass a school bus (when loading or unloading children) from the opposite direction of travel when on a road divided by a center center turn lane.

That has been fixed as the problematic language has been deleted from the statute. Now, it is against the law again in Georgia to pass a school bus from the opposite direction when it is loading or unloading children on all roads except in the situation where it occurs “with separate roadways that are separated by a grass median, unpaved area, or physical barrier need not stop upon meeting or passing a school bus which is on the separate roadway or upon a controlled access highway when the school bus is stopped in a loading zone which is a part of or adjacent to such highway and where pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway." O.C.G.A. § 40‑6-163(b) (2019).

This law went effect immediately, so as of earlier this morning, February 15, 2019, safety measures in the law appear to be restored in Georgia. Hopefully, this fixed law will prevent tragic wrongful deaths and injuries for Georgia’s children.

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a Georgia automobile or pedestrian wreck, please contact Gwinnett County based personal injury 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.

Georgia Traffic Accident and Fatality Statistics for Christmas 2018

The official statistics for Georgia traffic fatalities for the 2018 Christmas travel period are in and tragically 26 people lost their lives. According to the Georgia Department of Public Safety, there were 700 traffic crashes resulting in 333 injured persons handled just by the Georgia State Patrol (not accounting for local agencies). The Georgia State Patrol alone also made 285 DUI arrests.

Of the fatal accidents in Georgia for the 2018 Christmas travel period, the incidents occurred in the jurisdiction of the following agencies: Georgia State Patrol, Atlanta Police Department, Gwinnett County Police Department, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, DeKalb County Police Department, Clayton County Police Department, Savannah Police Department, Lawrenceville Police Department, Dade County Sheriff’s Office, and Floyd County Police Department.

These statistics are based on a 126 hour travel period from 6:00 PM, Friday, December 21, 2018 to 11:59 PM, Wednesday, December 26, 2018.

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a Georgia traffic accident, please contact Gwinnett County based personal injury 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.

National Work Zone Awareness Week

This week is National Work Zone Awareness Week, which is designed to bring attention to motorist and worker safety issues on roadways. This blog post by wrongful death and personal injury lawyer Richard Armond of the The Armond Firm, LLC, in Lawrenceville, Gwinnett County, Georgia, is designed to spread the message regarding the dangers of work zones on highways and includes some safety tips.

The statistics cited by the Federal Highway Administration regarding work zones are most alarming. In 2016 there were 765 work zone fatalities in the United States and 712 in 2015. In 2016, 143 of those fatalities involved workers, while in 2015 there were 130 workers lost. Most people recognize the dangers involved in the hard work those workers are doing, but those statistics indicate it is also very dangerous for motorists traveling through work zones.

Wrongful deaths in automobile accidents of any type are tragic, but often preventable. The Federal Highway Administration offers the following safety tips when driving in highway work zones:

  • Know Before You Go. Check your phone apps, agency websites, and the radio for the latest traffic information to ensure a safe and timely trip.
  • Wear Your Seatbelt. It is your best defense in a crash.
  • Expect the Unexpected. Work zones change often. The area you drove through yesterday may look different today.
  • Avoid Distractions. Distracted driving in a work zone can have deadly consequences. Put down your phone and keep your eyes on the road.
  • Pay Attention to Other Drivers. Narrowed traffic patterns provide less ability to maneuver around other vehicles safely. Paying attention can prevent the need for evasive actions in work zones.
  • Don't Speed or Tailgate. Keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you and don't speed. Tailgating and speeding lead to crashes with other vehicles and field workers.
  • Obey Road Crews and Signs. Flaggers know how best to move traffic safely in work zones. The warning signs are there to help you and other drivers move safely.
  • Be Patient and Stay Calm. Work zone crew members are working to improve the road and make your future drive better. Stay calm and drive safely.

Source:  https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/fhwahop18044/index.htm#source2

Please drive safely and attentively around highway work zones for your safety and for the safety of the workers and other motorists.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an automobile accident, 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.

Dangers of Being a Pedestrian in Metro Atlanta

As an Atlanta personal injury attorney, sometimes I do not think about the dangers of being a pedestrian. Things like taking my dogs for a walk or crossing the street when going to lunch in downtown Lawrenceville, Georgia, seem normal and insignificant. When I get in my car to back out of a driveway or parking spot, I almost subconsciously go through a routine of safety checks:  putting my foot on the brake, buckling my seat belt, making sure passengers are buckled, checking the rearview mirror, etc.

We all recognize the need for safe operation of our vehicles and the potential dangers of driving a vehicle unsafely. Many people like me do not, however, think about the risks of being a pedestrian. According to the CDC, pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to be killed in a car crash on each trip. The CDC numbers are staggering. In 2015 there were:

  • 5,376 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in the United States (one death every 1.6 hours)
  • Almost 129,000 non-fatal pedestrian emergency room visits for traffic crashes

Pedestrians lack the protection of steel, airbags, and safety belts that a car offers. And frankly, many pedestrians do not think as much about safety as they do when driving a car.

Please remember the following safety tips when walking near roadways:

  • Always use sidewalks if they are available
  • If walking at night, wear brightly colored, reflective clothing and carry a flashlight
  • Always cross at crosswalks if they are available
  • Always follow the instructions of crosswalk signals (do not dart into the road when the hand starts flashing the stop signal even when it gives a countdown of the seconds available until the hand stops flashing)
  • If no sidewalk is available, walk as far from vehicular travel as possible on the left side of the road (facing oncoming traffic instead of with your back towards oncoming traffic)

A recent case in Gwinnett County handled by an attorney from Macon was lost when a jury assigned a deceased pedestrian 50% liability for a traffic crash when he started to cross the street at a crosswalk when the signal had changed from the walk signal to the flashing hand (not even the solid stop hand). The law of Georgia requires pedestrians to obey traffic control signals (see O.C.G.A. § 40-6-90) and the jury found both the driver and pedestrian equally at fault. Thus, there was no recovery in that case. 

As areas around metro Atlanta become much more walkable and pedestrian friendly, keep in mind to exercise common sense safety tips to protect yourself and your family while out for a walk or a run.

If you or a loved one have been struck while a pedestrian, please contact injury 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.