In 2021, pedestrian traffic fatalities increased a staggering 45.6% from 2019 and 23.8% from 2020, reports The Citizens.
The numbers comes from a new analysis from the Governors Highway Traffic Association (GHSA) and clearly show that Georgia’s pedestrian fatality figures outpace the increase the nation has experienced. Specifically, there were 7,485 pedestrian traffic deaths nationwide in 2021 — a 16.7% increase from 2019 and an 11.5% increase from 2020.
Though the national picture is bleak, the Peach State appears to be experiencing a startling upward trend. Georgia had an estimated 348 pedestrian traffic fatalities in 2021, increasing from 281 in 2020 and 239 in 2019. That represents 2.62 deaths per 100,000 residents in 2020 and 3.22 deaths per 100,000 in 2021, notes The Citizens.
In 2021, several neighboring states fared better than Georgia in terms of pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 population. For example, Alabama experienced 2.50 deaths per 100,000, North Carolina had 2.42 and Tennessee had 2.59. However, both Florida (4.13) and South Carolina (3.70) had higher per capita rates than Georgia, according to the report.
The GHSA report also explores possible reasons for the rise in pedestrian crashes and deaths in Georgia. In keeping with national trends, the report cites risky driving behaviors such as distracted driving, impaired driving, and speeding. Studies show that all three dangerous behaviors have increased nationwide starting with the earliest days of the pandemic.
Georgia is combatting the problem of rising pedestrian fatalities in several ways, notes The Citizens. To cut down on distracted driving, the state enacted a hands-free law in July 2018, which prohibits the use of handled phones while behind the wheel. State troopers and local law enforcement officers are working diligently to enforce the law and on alert for speeding and impaired drivers as well.