The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Pedestrian Safety Action Plan reports that it averages over 100 pedestrian fatalities per year. GDOT estimated that 2012 pedestrian deaths would likely exceed those in 2011.
Of the pedestrian fatalities, 91 percent occur in the roadway and only 5 percent occur in marked crosswalks. According to GDOT, over half involve either an impaired driver or a distracted pedestrian.
A Gwinnett County pedestrian accident attorney at the Law Offices of Shane Smith can review an incident and advise a victim of his legal rights.
Texting while walking has become a common practice and judging from its frequency, more acceptable than texting while driving. Humorous videos about texting while walking have gone viral, such as one in the New York Times online opinion page that has been viewed more than 550,000 times.
Georgia law protects pedestrians but there are circumstances where a pedestrian may contribute to or be the cause of the accident. Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) Section 40-6-93 states that drivers should "...exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian...and shall exercise proper precautions upon observing any child or any obviously confused, incapacitated, or intoxicated person." However, a pedestrian who does not behave as a reasonably prudent person would under the same circumstances may be held partially or entirely at fault.
O.C.G.A. Section 40-6-92(a) states that every pedestrian crossing the street, whether in a crosswalk or not, shall yield the right of way to all vehicles unless the pedestrian has already safely entered the road. Pedestrians may cross at any intersection if they stay within an imaginary line that is established between the sidewalk on either side of the road. The lack of painted crosswalk lines does not mean the pedestrian is jaywalking.
Pedestrians who are texting while walking, even in a crosswalk, put themselves at unnecessary risks. Common sense dictates that the person should refrain from texting until after he has safely crossed the intersection. Pedestrians should also remove ear buds while crossing so they can hear any sounds around them.
Victims should seek the assistance of a Gwinnett County pedestrian accident attorney to protect their rights by securing police reports, eyewitness testimony and physical evidence and to deal with insurance representatives.