With more and more new vehicles rolling off the manufacturing floor equipped with advanced safety features, it would be logical to assume that motorists, passengers and others on the roads enjoy improved safety and a reduced risk of serious accidents or injuries. According to records from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Governors Highway Safety Association, it seems that the opposite is unfortunately true for pedestrians.
CNBC reported on data from the GHSA that found pedestrian fatalities now account for 16% of all traffic deaths nationwide on an annual basis. In the decade spanning 2008 to 2018, vehicular deaths among pedestrians spiked a staggering 41%. The story in Georgia tragically reflects this national trend.
NHTSA records show a steady increase in the number of pedestrians killed in Georgia for four consecutive years, starting with 2015. That year, 194 people on foot died in vehicular accidents, up from 163 in 2014. The 2015 pedestrian deaths accounted for 13.5% of all traffic deaths statewide. In 2016, 232 pedestrians died, representing 14.9% of all traffic deaths. Pedestrian deaths increased again in both 2017 and 2018 both in number and percent of overall fatalities even while the total number of people killed in vehicle accidents dropped. By 2018, pedestrians represented 17.3% of all people killed in motor vehicle accidents in Georgia, more than the national average.
Distracted driving and the continued presence of more large vehicles have been linked with the increase in pedestrian deaths. Drivers in SUVs and other vehicles may have a harder time seeing pedestrians and pedestrians hit by taller vehicles tend to be incur head injuries or trauma to their torsos, where vital organs may be hurt.