Georgia pedestrian deaths rising despite lower traffic

Evidence continues to mount that 2020 was a horrible year for traffic fatalities despite a big drop in the number of vehicles on the road.

Pedestrian deaths nationwide rose .2 percent to 2,957 in the fist six months of the year despite a dramatic decrease in traffic as schools and businesses shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report released today by the Governors Highway Safety Association, a traffic safety group.

Pedestrian deaths in Georgia rose 4 percent to 113 in the first half of 2020, though state officials have said traffic volumes fell as much as 50 percent on some state highways.

That mirrors a broader trend that saw rising traffic fatalities in 2020. The Georgia Department of Transportation says speeding in lighter traffic, a lack of seat belts, impaired driving and other factors played a role in rising traffic deaths.

The GHSA report says pedestrian deaths rose 46 percent nationwide between 2010 and 2019, compared to 5 percent for all other traffic fatalities. The report recommends a variety of approaches – including traffic enforcement and education – to stem the rising tide of fatalities.

You can read the full report here.