A large part of my law practice is representing people who have been seriously injured in traffic or road collisions. This includes not only drivers and passengers of vehicles, but also many pedestrians. The photographs above are just a small example of the carnage that occurs on Georgia roads every day. I am currently representing the family members of two separate families who have lost loved ones when they were killed as pedestrians on Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway in Atlanta.
Sunday marks the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. It is a high-profile global event to remember the many millions who have been killed and seriously injured on the world’s roads and to acknowledge the suffering of all affected victims, families and communities – millions added each year to countless millions already suffering: a truly tremendous cumulative toll. This Day has also become an important tool for governments and all those whose work involves crash prevention or response to the aftermath of crashes, since it offers the opportunity to demonstrate the enormous scale and impact of road deaths and injuries, call for an end to the often trivial and inappropriate response to road death and injury and advocate for urgent concerted action to stop the carnage.
“As every year, the objectives of WDoR 2023 are to provide a platform for road traffic victims and their families to:
- remember all people killed and seriously injured on the roads;
- acknowledge the crucial work of the emergency services;
- draw attention to the generally trivial legal response to culpable road deaths and injuries and advocate for an appropriately serious response;
- advocate for better support for road traffic victims and victim families;
- promote evidence-based actions to prevent and eventually stop further road traffic deaths and injuries.”
Recently, Propel ATL issued its extensive report on Pedestrian Deaths in Georgia titled “38 Reasons Why,” so named for the 38 pedestrian lives lost to traffic violence in Atlanta in 2022. The 38 pedestrian deaths in 2022 represent an increase of 23% over 2021, despite a drop in people killed in car crashes overall. Since 2020, pedestrian deaths have increased by an alarming 52%. The new report states that in 2022, over 35,000 crashes occurred on Atlanta streets and that 548 of these crashes involved people walking, biking, and rolling.
We hope to effect change with our two lawsuits involving pedestrian deaths, on Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway,which occurred only .1 miles apart from each other. One of the glaring problems with Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway specifically is the lack of crosswalks. A person trying to cross this dangerous road has almost no chance, and road designers are well aware of this. State and local governments must stop ignoring the problem and implement known, easy solutions to totally unnecessary pedestrian deaths. This is particularly true in neighborhoods that are made of predominantly black residents, as most of the pedestrian deaths occur in these neighborhoods as STate and local transportation departments ignore these neighborhoods while focusing resources on the wealthy neighborhoods. This is indisputable. Over two-thirds of pedestrian fatalities occurred in predominantly Black neighborhoods (25 out of 38 fatalities). As the Propel ATL reports starkly notes: ”
These trends highlight a glaring disparity in Atlanta’s pedestrian safety: People walking in Black neighborhoods or in low-income communities are more likely to lose their lives to traffic violence. These same neighborhoods also tend to have fewer roadway features like sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike lanes that keep people safe when traveling outside of cars.”
Transportation departments of the State of Georgia and local governments have a duty to do better and stop the unnecessary wrongful taking of innocent lives, of people who just want to cross the street. Surely, in the year 2023, we should be able to walk across a street safely without fear of losing your life. I am going to do my part to ensure that happens.
Robin Frazer Clark is a trial lawyer who pursues justice for those who have personal injury claims as a result of being injured in motor vehicle wrecks, trucking wrecks, defective products, defective maintenance of roads, premises safety, medical malpractice and other incidents caused by the negligence of others. Ms. Clark is the 50th President of the State Bar of Georgia, a Past President of Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, a Past President of the Lawyers Club of Atlanta and has practiced law in Georgia for 35 years. She is a member of the International Society of Barristers and of the American Board of Trial Advocates. She is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Mrs. Clark is listed as one of the Top 50 Women Trial Lawyers in Georgia and the Top 25 National Women Trial Lawyers and is a Georgia Super Lawyer. Ms. Clark is the co-host of the podcast “See You In Court,” sponsored by the Georgia Civil Justice Foundation. Ms. Clark has tried over 75 jury trials and argued in Georgia Appellate Courts over 45 times.
Robin Frazer Clark ~ Dedicated to the Constitution’s Promise of Justice for All.