October is the start of National Pedestrian Safety Month and the Georgia Traffic Incident Management Enhancement (TIME) Task Force is recognizing the importance of keeping communities safe and walkable through responsible driving and roadway safety practices every day. Pedestrians and others who commute on foot and by other means should be able to use our roads without worrying about being struck by a vehicle. Everyone is a pedestrian at one point or another.
This time of the year can be busy with holidays, special events, and a change in seasons, and with that comes an increase in vehicles on the road combined with varying weather and road conditions. It is particularly important now to be aware of your surroundings and where you walk. Making our communities safe and walkable also includes designating areas for pedestrians only as well as making routes to access public transit direct and connected via a network of roadways, trails, paths, and sidewalks.
Pedestrian fatalities occur frequently but are preventable. The U.S. Department of Transportation provides some insight into the data. According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, 6,516 were killed in traffic-related incidents in 2020 and an estimated 54,769 pedestrians were injured in the same year. Specifically, most pedestrian fatalities (80 percent) happened in urban areas compared to rural areas in 2020. Alcohol involvement in traffic-related crashes represents 47 percent of incidents reported in the same year.
In Georgia, there were 279 pedestrian fatalities, which accounted for 16.8 percent of total traffic fatalities across the State in 2020. More specifically, there were 25 pedestrian fatalities in Atlanta alone, accounting for 30.8 percent of total traffic fatalities in 2020. This rate was around the average percentage of total fatalities compared to other U.S. cities with populations of 500,000 or greater.
There are a variety of factors that go into why traffic crashes and fatalities occur, but safe driving on the roads starts with being smart and responsible. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers some important safety reminders for both pedestrians and drivers:
(Source: Traffic Safety Facts, 2020 Data)
The TIME Task Force encourages first responders and traffic incident management professionals to promote responsible driving and tips for both drivers and pedestrians in their communities to get from point A to point B as safely as possible.
National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2022, May). Pedestrians:
2020 data (Traffic Safety Facts. Report No. DOT HS 813 310).
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.