Pedestrian deaths rise in Georgia and across the nation

Pedestrian deaths rose in Georgia and across the nation in the first six months of 2021, a new study has found. (AJC file photo)

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Pedestrian deaths rose in Georgia and across the nation in the first six months of 2021, a new study has found. (AJC file photo)

A decadelong rise in pedestrian deaths in Georgia and across the nation continued in the first half of 2021, a new analysis has found.

The Governors Highway Safety Association report released Thursday shows an estimated 182 pedestrians died in Georgia in the first six months of 2021. That’s a 77% increase from the same period in 2020. Nationwide, pedestrian deaths rose an estimated 17% to 3,441 in the first six months of 2021.

The GHSA based its analysis on preliminary data from traffic safety departments in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. It found the national pedestrian death rate increased to 1.04 deaths per 100,000 people in the first six months of 2021, up from 0.9 deaths for the same period in 2020.

The traffic safety group said many factors have contributed to rising fatalities. One recent factor is a surge in dangerous driving amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The GHSA said long-term trends also have played a role. Vehicles have become larger and more likely to seriously injure or kill pedestrians. Road designs prioritize fast-moving traffic over slower speeds that are safer for pedestrians. Inadequate sidewalks and lighting are a factor in many parts of the country.

“Walking is the most basic form of transportation, but there is a pedestrian safety crisis due to drivers speeding, being impaired and distracted or engaged in other dangerous behaviors,” GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins said.

You can read the group’s report at www.ghsa.org.