ATLANTA — Georgia roads have become safer for drivers in the past decade, but they’re just as deadly for walkers, even as the rate of pedestrian deaths has declined nationwide.
The number of Georgia pedestrians killed each year has risen since 2001, and they have become a larger share of the state’s total traffic fatalities, according to statistics released Monday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In 2001, Georgia’s 146 deaths of people on foot amounted to 9 percent of all 1,615 road deaths that year. By 2010, the most recent year for which figures are available, Georgia had 168 pedestrians killed – 13.5 percent of its total of 1,244.
The figures show that the state’s roads have become safer for drivers in that time but not for walkers – the rate of pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people remained the same, at 1.73.
Georgia’s pedestrian death rate is 25 percent higher than the national rate of 1.38 deaths per 100,000 people. The national rate has improved 19 percent since 2001 while Georgia’s didn’t budge.
Florida had the country’s worst rate at 2.58 in 2010; however, that rate represents a 14 percent improvement over the decade.
South Carolina had a rate of 1.94 in 2010, a 28 percent improvement over the 2001 rate of 2.7.
“Roadway safety is a two-way street that requires effort on the part of motorists and pedestrians alike,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
The national figures identify clear dangers: city streets, areas between intersections, night time, age and alcohol. Men are more likely to be victims than women.
“Most people are pedestrians at some point in their day. That’s why we’re reminding the public to take precautions and use crosswalks or intersections whenever possible and wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross the street,” NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said. “Drivers should pay attention behind the wheel, especially in hard-to-see conditions and at night.”