Pedestrian safety is a priority in the traffic laws of Georgia. When foot travelers and drivers of cars share the road, it is important they follow safety guidelines. However, they must also obey the laws governing both forms of travel in order to avoid collisions and personal injury or death.
A recent fatality involved a pedestrian who was in a crosswalk when a driver who failed to stop struck him. While failing to stop after an accident is a severe violation of law all by itself, it may also be that not stopping to allow the pedestrian the right of way was a traffic violation regardless of the tragedy that also occurred.
Crosswalks and driver obligations
As noted by the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, sections 40-6-91 and 92 of the Georgia traffic laws say that yielding to a person on foot in a crosswalk is not enough. Rather, the automobile driver must both stop and remain stopped in some instances. If the pedestrian is in the half of the street that the car is traveling in, the stop and wait rule applies.
Similarly, if the person on foot is heading towards and is less than one lane of distance from that half of the street that the car is traveling in or turning onto, the car driver must stop and wait. He or she cannot merely slow down or speed up. The intent of this law is to prevent drivers from crowding around a pedestrian in efforts to continue traveling despite the pedestrian’s location. A driver should neither cut off a pedestrian in a crosswalk nor drive around him or her, regardless of whether there is sufficient room to do so.
When a driver has stopped and is waiting as required for the foot-traveler to complete his or her crosswalk path to safety, no other vehicles behind the stopped vehicle may pass that stopped vehicle.
Pedestrian obligations when there is no crosswalk
In addition to drivers knowing their obligations to pedestrians, pedestrians can also follow common sense safety tips. There are also legal obligations they must obey both for safety and to avoid a citation for their own transgressions as pedestrians.
If there is no crosswalk, the pedestrian is to yield to vehicles in the road unless that pedestrian has already safely entered the street to cross it. The law also requires a pedestrian to use and obey traffic control signals where provided rather than crossing at a location elsewhere on that road.