Pedestrian fatalities increase dramatically in 2016

Walking, whether for exercise or transportation, is a healthy, low-impact activity that has many benefits. Unfortunately, walking on American sidewalks and crosswalks appears to be far less safe than it once was. Nearly 6,000 pedestrians are estimated to have died in 2016.

This would be an 11 percent increase over 2015. This is the largest percentage increase in pedestrian deaths ever, and the second year in a row in which pedestrian deaths increased significantly. In fact, pedestrian deaths increased 22% from 2014 to 2016. This report, prepared and published by the Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA), compiled data from the first six months of 2016, and projected trends for the last six months of the year. 

 How does Tennessee fare among the 50 states?

Of the 50 states, Tennessee had the 21st highest pedestrian death rate in 2016, with 1.64 pedestrians killed per 100,000 people. In the first six months of 2016, 46 pedestrians in Tennessee were killed. In the same time frame in 2015, 43 pedestrians died, representing a seven percent increase year over year. Of the 50 states and Washington D.C., 34 states reported an increase in pedestrian deaths. One state did not increase or decrease, and 14 states and Washington D.C. reported a decrease in deaths.

What is causing the increase in pedestrian deaths?

Per the GHSA report, there are two main causes in the increase in pedestrian deaths. First, with lower gas prices, motorists are driving more miles than in years past. The increase in mileage does not account for all of the increase in deaths. The GHSA believes the main cause of the increase stems from distractions. Obviously, any driver who uses smartphones behind the wheel is not fully aware of their surroundings and will not be able to account for pedestrians. Likewise, pedestrians who are crossing the street while looking at their phone are not always going to see cars in their path.

Any pedestrian, passenger or motorist injured by a distracted or otherwise negligent motorist needs to work closely with experienced, knowledgeable personal injury attorneys.

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