The first incident, Ch. 2′s Michael Doudna reported, involved a Jeep striking a man in the 400 block of N. Candler Street, just northeast of the Decatur square. The pedestrian was crossing a private driveway at 8:19 a.m., Decatur PD PIO Sgt. John Bender told the AJC and 95.5 WSB.
Incident two was at 1:53 p.m. on West Ponce de Leon Avenue at West Trinity Place, about a half-mile west of the square, Bender said.
A vehicle hit a third person less than an hour later, at 2:43 p.m., on Sycamore at East Ponce, on the opposite side of the square from the second incident.
Bender said that these first three incidents caused only minor injuries and that each driver was cited for failing to yield to the people on foot. They also largely involved streets that each had only two or three lanes.
The crash that claimed the teenage boy’s life, as of Thursday, is still under investigation. But it took place at Commerce Drive and East College Avenue, less than a half-mile southeast of the Decatur square.
Both Commerce and E. College are larger, four-lane (two each way) roads. While that intersection contains crosswalks, the sidewalks on some sections are narrow and the speed limits are 35 mph. A railroad bridge crosses the north side of the intersection, which could serve to obstruct a fast-moving driver’s view on the approach.
These crashes took place on November 6th, the first rush-hour day of standard time. Drivers are generally more groggy in the mornings and then more crash-prone and affected by brighter brake lights when darkness sets in earlier. The yearly autumn change from Daylight Saving Time generally causes more crashes in the evenings in the dark and more delays, too. The earlier sunrise also creates more brake lights in AM drive.
But these factors, Bender opined, are not what he believes caused drivers to hit four people in the same day in his city.
Bender says he thinks the issue is not related to the twice-yearly time change, but instead something far more evergreen.
“Drivers throughout all of Metro Atlanta drive distracted,” Bender said, adding that driving requires ,”motor skills and full cognitive ability.”
Mobile-phone use rightfully gets the most heat for drivers’ distractions, but Bender said people should not ignore other distractions like stress and personal problems.
Because the fatal pedestrian crash took place on a state route, Bender says GDOT will likely have to investigate how pedestrian-friendly or not the Commerce-E. College intersection is.
Bender said he has never seen, in his 15 years in the industry, four pedestrians being hit in one day. And while the reasons for each may or may not be related, they are very likely not a coincidence.
People drive recklessly, and the cars almost always win versus people on the outside. Autos got too many points last Monday in Decatur.
Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on 95.5 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. Download the Triple Team Traffic Alerts App to hear reports from the WSB Traffic Team automatically when you drive near trouble spots. Contact him at Doug.Turnbull@cmg.com.