Pedestrians are by far the most vulnerable users of the road. Pedestrians involved in a crash are 10 times more likely to die than an occupant of a motor vehicle. And because of an increase in distracted driving, pedestrian deaths are up nearly 50% since 2005.
Aside from drunken driving accidents, distracted driving accidents account for the most deaths in traffic crashes nationwide. In some studies, distraction accounts for more than 80% of all traffic accidents.
Approximately 3,328 people were killed in distracted driving accidents nationwide in 2012. Even worse, this number might be underreported, as many drivers involved in accidents do not admit that they were distracted.
According to an Auto Vantage Motor Club study, Georgia had the 3rd highest rate of drivers who text behind the wheel in 2008. Nearly 37% of drivers in the Georgia survey admitted that they text and drive on a regular basis. The state of Georgia subsequently has banned all texting while driving and prohibited cellphone use by novice drivers and bus drivers.
But distractions involve more than just cellphone and electronic devices. Distracted driving can include eating, talking to passengers, putting on makeup or engaging in any other activity that takes your focus off the road.
Reaching for an object in a car increases a crash risk nine times. Grooming or applying makeup increases crash risk three times, and talking to passengers or caring for children can increase crash risk six times.
Nationally, pedestrian deaths rose 6.4% from 2011 to 2012. At the same time, pedestrian deaths in Georgia rose 28%, from 130 to 167. It is not clear how many of these deaths were the fault of distracted drivers. Historically, speeding and pedestrian errors have been the major causes of pedestrian deaths.
Even when the accidents aren’t fatal, they often leave pedestrians with catastrophic injuries.
Every 24 hours, nearly 460 people are treated in emergency rooms for pedestrian injuries nationwide. One pedestrian dies from injuries sustained in a car crash every two hours.
A distracted driver is a dangerous driver, especially to vulnerable pedestrians and bicyclists. Many drivers underestimate the dangers of driving while they are distracted. As long as these drivers refuse to recognize the dangers, the numbers of pedestrian injuries and deaths will continue to climb.