Over the years, more people have taken up walking as one of their primary forms of exercise. This is generally seen as a good thing as increasing a person’s activity is normally a way of bettering their health and well-being. Sadly, it seems that lacing up one’s shoes and hitting the road, sidewalk or outdoor path may actually be harmful to a person’s health.
A report by The Verge indicated that 2018 saw the greatest number of pedestrian fatalities across the United States since 1990. This trend is alarming for many reasons, including the fact that it comes at a time when overall traffic fatalities are on the decline. Between 2017 and 2018, pedestrian deaths increased by 3.4% while overall vehicular deaths decreased by 2.4%. The problem appears greater in more populated urban or suburban areas.
In Georgia, the picture is no better. Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that in 2014, the state recorded 163 pedestrian deaths, a number that rose every year for the subsequent four years. Foot traffic fatalities numbered 194 in 2015, 232 in 2016 and 253 in 2017. In 2018, the last full year for which data is currently available, 261 pedestrians were killed in automobile wrecks in Georgia. Fulton County was the site of 166 pedestrian deaths between 2014 and 2018.
The 36 pedestrian deaths in Fulton County were the most in any county across the state that year. Dekalb County recorded 31 such fatalities while another 20 pedestrians were killed in Clayton County. Gwinnett and Cobb Counties recorded 14 and 10 pedestrian deaths, respectively.