The streets have become a dangerous place over the last decade. More driver’s eyes are drawn to their screens than the road. The safety of pedestrians is at stake. In fact, 2018 broke the terrible record of having the highest number of pedestrian deaths within the last 30 years.

Big cities are an obvious trend in pedestrian deaths, but these wrecks are happening all over America. Georgia is no stranger to this issue. Georgia is one of the major states that has contributed to half of the nation’s pedestrian deaths back in 2018.

What contributes to pedestrian deaths?

Many people will relate to this insane number of pedestrian deaths to rush-hour traffic, distracted driving or jaywalking. In Georgia, the Pedestrian Safety Review Board pointed out that city streets are built for cars, not people. “It’s great advice to tell people to use a crosswalk, but that’s not very useful if the crosswalk doesn’t exist.” This forces the population to jaywalk, leaving drivers to be more aware than ever. An impossibility now since drivers are more distracted than they’ve ever been.

Distracted driving has become a major problem because people are more reliant on their phones now than ever. Drivers become so preoccupied with their phones that they miss what’s going on in front of them. With the combination of traffic, the lack of crosswalks and phones available for every driver, there’s no wonder why the number of pedestrian deaths skyrocketed.

How do we combat this?

About 21 states, including Georgia, have recently moved toward a Hands-Free Law. This law prohibits drivers from using their phone while driving. The only exception is using voice commands and single-touch activation without holding the phone. This law will lead drivers to staying focused on the road and avoiding pedestrians. This is not a final fix, but the number of pedestrian deaths has decreased since they introduced this law.

The state of Georgia is struggling to make great strides to keep their pedestrians safe. In 2019, the number of pedestrian fatalities decreased, but there are still thousands of families suffering every year. Their goal is to change that and make their streets more walkable. Distracted drivers should know the damages that could occur. Becoming more aware can only save a life.