(Media release from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety):
During National Pedestrian Safety Month, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) is asking everyone to drive safely so everyone can cross safely.
Drivers are reminded to share the road by stopping as required by Georgia law when pedestrians are in crosswalks and look before turning or entering an intersection.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has designated October as “National Pedestrian Safety Month” with the goal of protecting the most vulnerable road users when they are walking and crossing the road.
According to NHTSA, the number of pedestrian deaths in the United States increased by 46 percent over a ten-year period from 2011 through 2020 and pedestrian fatalities accounted for 17 percent of all traffic fatalities in the nation in 2020 compared to 14 percent of total fatalities in 2011.
Federal and state data show the number of pedestrian fatalities in Georgia more than doubled in the last ten years. According to NHTSA, there were 167 pedestrian fatalities in the state in 2013 and preliminary state data from 2022 show there were 322 pedestrian fatalities. Pedestrian fatalities in 2020 comprised 17% of total fatalities in Georgia compared to 11% in 2011.
“Speed limits are set to protect everyone traveling on the road and slower speeds allow drivers to stop quicker and increase the survivability rate in pedestrian crashes,” Allen Poole, Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety said. “Pedestrians are asked to cross at intersections where vehicles have to stop for traffic signals and stop signs and look before stepping into the road.”
GOHS is partnering with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to remind drivers who have mechanical or equipment troubles on an interstate highway to call 511 to request a HERO or CHAMP unit for assistance.
According to NHTSA, 14 percent of pedestrian fatalities in Georgia happen on interstate highways. Many of the pedestrian fatality crashes on interstate highways involve vehicles that were parked with a mechanical or equipment issue.
GOHS and GDOT remind drivers who have mechanical issues on an interstate highway to get their vehicle to the shoulder of the road, turn on the hazard warning lights, call 511 to request a HERO or CHAMP unit, and stay in their vehicle unless they feel it is not safe to remain in the vehicle.
“Conditions are constantly changing on our roads and that is why drivers need to pay attention and be ready to take the appropriate safety response when approaching a vehicle that his having mechanical issues or there has been a crash,” Poole said. “If you have a mechanical or equipment problem on an interstate highway in Georgia, call 511 and a HERO or CHAMP unit will be sent to your location.”
Federal highway safety data shows four out of every five pedestrian deaths in Georgia happen during nighttime or low-light times of the day. With the number of daylight hours decreasing during the fall, pedestrians walking at night should wear bright reflective clothing or carry a light that will help drivers see them when driving during these conditions.
The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety offers the following safety tips for drivers and pedestrians:
Obey the speed limit
Keep eyes on the road
Move over, when possible, for vehicles parked on the road
Be ready to stop quickly when traveling in areas where people are walking.
Use crosswalks when available
Follow Georgia law by obeying crosswalk signals
Cross at intersections where vehicles have to stop and not the middle of the road
Park your phone while walking and look before stepping into the roadway
Be seen when walking in lowlight and nighttime hours