About a week ago, CBS Atlanta reported on a very frightening Smyrna, Georgia car accident involving pedestrians. A mom was crossing Concord Road at Hollis Street in Smyrna at about 7:45 in the morning to reach a bus stop across the street. She had her 5-year-old and her 7-month-old with her.
According to CBS Atlanta article, Apparently this intersection does not have a crosswalk or a walk sign. An SUV moving through the intersection hit the mom and her kids as they crossed the road. Pictures of the scene showed a flattened stroller lying in the middle of the road. The mother was taken to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital with a broken ankle, and her two children were both taken to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.
The police reported that miraculously none of the three had life-threatening personal injuries in the Smyrna accident.
Neighbors working or living near the intersection complained that it was a dangerous intersection, and pointed out that this was not the first wreck at the intersection. In fact, Smyrna police explained that there had been "only" four car accidents at the intersection in the past two years.
The nearest crosswalk with a traffic signal was 200 yards - two football fields - away.
According to a spokeswoman for the City of Smyrna, the city already had planned to install a traffic light and a crosswalk at that intersection - but not until September, far too late for this family.
As a Smyrna car accident lawyer, I thought I would discuss two Georgia statutes that apply to pedestrians.
In O.C.G.A. § 40-6-91(a), the legislature provided that: "The driver of a vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon 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." On the other hand, a pedestrian may not "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." O.C.G.A. § 40-6-91(b).
Unfortunately for the mom and the driver of the SUV, this intersection was a hybrid: an intersection, but not one with a crosswalk. In that case, under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-92(a), "Every 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." In this case, we do not yet know from the report whether the mom and her kids already had entered the roadway.
Based on the report as it stands so far, probably subsection (c) of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-91 will not apply. That subsection says that: "Between adjacent intersections at which traffic-control signals are in operation, pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.." However, since the woman was crossing at an intersection that did not have a crosswalk, it appears that there were not "adjacent intersections" with traffic control signals.
This intersection is across from a bus stop, so Smyrna really owes it to its drivers to upgrade the intersection with a crosswalk and a walk signal.