Not since 1981 have we seen so many pedestrians on the roads being runover and killed by negligent drivers. I am not sure what to make of it, but we would expect that the number of people who are walking, jogging or running in local neighborhoods and who are run over and killed by cars would decrease over time. However, this is not the case and the trend is worrisome, to say the least.
The number of pedestrians deaths nationwide has taken a sharp turn upward, especially in the last decade. What we have noticed lately is that there is a small percentage of drivers who seemingly disobey all traffic laws, tailgate incessantly, speed, run red lights, disregard stop signs, turn from the middle lane, fail to yield and otherwise drive with a complete disregard for the law and the safety of those around them. It is not clear if this phenomenon was spurred on by the COVID-19 pandemic or not, but anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that this is when this reckless driving starting showing up on our streets. There are surely no conclusive statistics on this erratice driving behavior and how many needless deaths it has lead to (as there is no way to track this and quantify it), but the general sense in Georgia is that this is happening much more frequently since the pandemic and has probably lead to an increase in pedestrian collisions, injuries and deaths. This seems to be especially true in the City of Atlanta city limits and on the interstates such as I-75, I-85, I-20, I-285 and I-675 that run through the city.
A recent federal report cites what could have contributed to this increase on the federal level, including more risky driving during the coronavirus pandemic and a lack of awareness and enforcement of laws meant to keep pedestrians safe. Nationwide, at least 7,508 people who were out walking were struck and killed in the United States last year alone, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Most pedestrian deaths caused by negligence happened after dark and on roads with no sidewalks. Passenger cars were involved in 35% of deaths and an SUV or pickup was the striking vehicle in 40% of deaths, the report said.