ARE PEDESTRIANS SAFE IN TENNESSEE?

For four years, the number traffic fatalities in Tennessee declined. However, the number of pedestrians killed increased every one of those years.

Whether on foot for exercise or even to simply get from a car into a building, pedestrians in Tennessee must navigate around traffic. Drivers who are distracted, drunk, speeding or engaging in other forms of negligent behaviors make such navigation difficult for pedestrians on a regular basis.

Reports give examples of the problem

A report by The Tennessean indicates that in Nashville's central precinct, the number of pedestrian crashes in 2016 jumped by 65 percent over the prior year. Metro Police data show that 84 such wrecks happened in 2016. One involved two pedestrians being hit by a vehicle as they were in a crosswalk going to a music studio. Also increasing in 2016 over 2015 was the number of citations officers wrote for drivers failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians.

Just recently in Memphis, Fox 13 reported on the indictment of a man for his alleged role in the death of a young woman in February of last year. The man is said to have been drunk at the time that his vehicle hit the 24-year-old woman, forcing her body into the air and then into the path of another vehicle.

While the woman died at the accident scene, the at-fault driver never even stopped and made no attempt to secure help for the woman. He was also driving without insurance or a license.

Statistics support the dangerous trend

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration collects and reports a variety of vehicle accident information. In looking at data for the state of Tennessee, a sad pattern emerges.

In 2012, there were a total of 1,015 people killed in traffic accidents in Tennessee. For the next three years, that number declined each consecutive year to 995, then 963 and finally to 958 in 2015.

The opposite trend is seen when looking at the number of pedestrians killed in these same years. In 2012, there were 67 pedestrian fatalities. That number rose every year for the next three years. In 2013 and 2014, 80 and 86 pedestrians died, respectively. Then, in 2015, Tennessee lost 104 pedestrian lives in accidents.

Shelby, Davidson and Knox Counties led the state with the highest number of pedestrian deaths during these four years with 90, 59 and 27 such deaths, respectively.

Pedestrians deserve fair treatment

While some areas, such as the city of Nashville, may actively be looking for ways to improve pedestrian safety, individuals hurt in accidents deserve help. Talking to an attorney after a pedestrian accident is always recommended. This can give people insight into their options for seeking compensation.

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