As a Dekalb County pedestrian accident lawyer, I was saddened to learn of another pedestrian death in DeKalb County with little for the police to go on. A man who was walking in the early morning hours on Sunday at the intersection of Covington Highway and Wellborn Drive, was apparently struck more than once by vehicles in the area. The police have said that at least one car struck the man near the Saint Stephen Lutheran Church as he walking along the Covington Highway.
A few drivers stopped their cars and were on the scene perhaps seeing the man on the road. But no one is sure why he was walking at that hour or which vehicles struck him. The police are not calling this a hit and run, but do believe it is possible that he was hit by more than one driver.
Sometimes we forget when we are pedestrians, that drivers might not be able to see us in the dark. Have you ever walked across the street at night and realized that you are wearing only dark clothing and might not be seen by drivers? If you know you will be walking in the dark hours, it is very important to wear something that will be visible when drivers are passing you.
Remember also that in Georgia our laws, specifically Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-91, require that drivers stop and remain stopped for pedestrians to cross a roadway when they are within a crosswalk. The law provides that when the pedestrian is on “the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching and is within one lane of the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning, drivers must stop for the pedestrian. “Half of the roadway” means all traffic lanes carrying traffic in one direction of travel. This means that drivers are not permitted to drive around a person who is in a crosswalk. Yielding is not permitted, drivers must stop.
But the law also states that “[n]o pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield.” And the law prohibits drivers who are behind a stopped vehicle at a marked crosswalk or an unmarked intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, from overtaking and passing the stopped vehicle.
Another of our Georgia laws, Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-92 provides that “[e]very pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway unless he has already, and under safe conditions, entered the roadway.
When driving out of an alley, driveway or building, Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-144 provides that the driver coming out “from an alley, building, private road, or driveway within a business or residential district shall stop such vehicle immediately prior to driving onto a sidewalk or onto the sidewalk area extending across such alley, building entrance, road, or driveway or, in the event there is no sidewalk area, shall stop at the point nearest the street to be entered where the driver has a view of approaching traffic” and shall yield the right of way to any pedestrian on a sidewalk.
Georgia law protects pedestrians in many situations and it is important to be mindful of those while driving. We hope that remembering these rules will make both pedestrians and drivers safer on the roads we share.