SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – October is pedestrian safety month and this year the topic of pedestrian safety has become even more important.
“In the last few years, pedestrian deaths have gone up dramatically, nationwide,” says the Director of Communication for the National Road Safety Foundation (NRSF), David Reich.
According to data from the NRSF, pedestrian deaths have gone up 4.8% nationwide since 2019. In Georgia that percentage is even higher.
“In Georgia there were 273 pedestrian deaths on the road, up 14 percent,” says David Reich.
Nationwide, a total of 7,200 pedestrians and cyclists were killed last year in crashes.
“A big reason for that has been distraction,” says David Reich
Shreen Shavkani is a teen from Georgia and a member of the National Leadership Committee for Students Against Destructive Decisions. She shares how important it is for young drivers who are new to the road to learn to properly scan for pedestrians.
“A lot of my peers specifically like when they’re driving around, they’re not really paying attention to pedestrians on the side of the road and crossing signs,” says Shavkani, “they’re paying attention to red light, green light, yellow light, and I think it’s important to educate them especially knowing that like hey these crosswalks exist for a reason.”
Pedestrians and cyclists can take some simple steps to protect themselves.
“Making sure that you’re walking on the sidewalk whenever possible, and if there aren’t any sidewalks, making sure that you’re walking the furthest away from traffic, but also walking in the same direction so people are able to see you,” says Shavkani, “on that point, also making sure that your wearing reflective clothing if you’re walking around at night or just generally bright clothing so people can see you and make sure that you’re there and just being visible, and also just making sure that again, you’re watching when cars are pulling out of driveways and also out of parking lots.”