Georgia's share of total U.S. pedestrian fatalities growsBy Walter C. Jones
Morris News Service
ATLANTA – Georgia roads have become safer for drivers in the last decade but they're just as deadly for walkers, even as the rate of pedestrian deaths has declined nationally.
The number of Georgia pedestrians annually killed has risen since 2001, and they have become a larger share of the state's total traffic fatalities, according to statistics released Monday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The figures show that the state's roads have become safer for drivers in that time but not for walkers since the rate of pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people remained the same at 1.73.
Georgia's pedestrian death rate is 25 percent higher than the national rate of 1.38 deaths per 100,000 people. And the national rate has improved 19 percent since 2001 while Georgia's didn't budge.
The nation's vacation land, Florida, had the country's worst rate at 2.58 in 2010. As jarring as that is, it represents a 14 percent improvement over time.
Georgia's neighbor to the northeast, South Carolina, had a rate of 1.94 in 2010, a 28 percent improvement over the 2001 rate of 2.7.
"Roadway safety is a two-way street that requires effort on the part of motorists and pedestrians alike," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
The national figures identify clear dangers: city streets, areas between intersections, night time, age and alcohol. Men are more likely to be victims, too.
"Most people are pedestrians at some point in their day. That's why we're reminding the public to take precautions and use crosswalks or intersections whenever possible and wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross the street," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "Drivers should pay attention behind the wheel, especially in hard-to-see conditions and at night."