Statewide, roadway fatalities continued their steady increase, with a disturbing 9% increase from 2015 for both people walking and people riding bikes. This unacceptable trend must be stopped and reversed, and we know the best way to improve the safety of our roadways is through a combination of much better engineering, bolstered by consistent education and enforcement.
On the engineering front, we’re glad to see GDOT starting an initiative to fund key projects via the state’s regional commissions, but we urge the DOT to preserve and obligate all of the federal funding Georgia receives that can be used to create safe streets and neighborhoods. So far, GDOT has transferred half of its Transportation Alternatives Funding -the maximum amount allowable- for road widening and new constructions. These funds could be used to create safe routes to school, sidewalks, crosswalks, and protected bike lanes, but the state is not prioritizing these scarce federal funds for their intended purpose.
For education and enforcement, we are continuing our free classes for law enforcement throughout the state, and we’re working this winter on winning a Vulnerable Road User law, which will 1) define who vulnerable road users are and 2) increase penalties for injuring or killing them. This law will be very helpful for crash victims where DUI or hit-and-run are not factors but where driver inattention contribute to the collision. If you support Georgia having such a law, please call your state Representative and Senator and let them know. Find them here. When you call, just say the following:
Hello, my name is [name], and I am a constituent who lives at [address]. I support a Vulnerable Road User law in Georgia and ask the [Representative/Senator] to support such a law. Thank you.
At this time, a bill has not been introduced for the VRU law, but he hope to have a bill number soon. It never hurts to build the support early with your elected officials. Thanks for taking time to call your lawmakers today!