Pedestrian Accidents: What to Know


May is National Walking Month.  Walking is a fabulous form of exercise.  It also helps reduce carbon emissions, allows you to see a city or area more closely,  decreases road congestion and saves money.   But, walking can also be dangerous. Pedestrian fatalities have increased every year for more than a decade and pedestrians now account for 17% of all fatalities involving cars and trucks.  In 2021 (which is the most recent data-analyzed year) there were 1,512 pedestrian involved crashes in the State of Tennessee.  In the country as a whole, a pedestrian is killed every 81 minutes.  Nashville’s data has been released for 2022 and the city saw a record high 49 pedestrians killed.  Read on to refresh yourself on Tennessee pedestrian law and some things you can do to help reverse this trend.

Experts believe the increase in pedestrian accidents has many causes.  Of course, some are the same culprits that cause most accidents: distracted driving, speeding and driving under the influence.   In addition, the popularity of trucks and SUVS play a role.  These heavier and higher profile vehicles tend do more damage when they hit a pedestrian.  For example, a small convertible will typically just impact the legs and hips of a pedestrian.  However, a large truck or SUV will strike the legs, hips and torso.  Of course, the outcome is even worse for children whose entire body can be impacted by the vehicle.  Statistics show an SUV is 2.5 or 3 times more likely to kill a pedestrian than a car.

So what can be done?  Local, state and federal governments can help reduce the number of pedestrian accidents by using speed humps and increased law enforcement to slow drivers.  When roadwork is initiated, governments should create environments that separate cars and pedestrians.  Drivers obviously need to slow down, avoid distractions and not drive if they are are impaired.  Drivers should also remember the rules of the road when it comes to pedestrians.

In Tennessee, drivers are required to yield to pedestrians who are within a crosswalk.  A crosswalk is not just one with paint on the road – that is a “marked” crosswalk – but crosswalks also include intersections without paint on the road (“unmarked” crosswalks).  Drivers must use due care to avoid hitting pedestrians in any other locations as well.  If a driver is stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the road, the drivers behind the stopped vehicle are not permitted to pass.  To be sure, pedestrians have responsibilities too.  Pedestrians must walk facing traffic and they must yield to vehicles if they are not crossing within an unmarked or marked crosswalk.

These rules are clear-cut but the application can sometimes be messy.  For example, a pedestrian may think he or she has time to cross the road but does not appreciate that the vehicle in the distance is speeding.  And this is why, if you are involved in a pedestrian accident, you should consult an experienced lawyer.  Our firm has represented pedestrians and injury victims for more than 30 years and our award-winning lawyers would be privileged to help you too.  We represent pedestrian accident victims on a contingency basis so we only get paid if we recover money for you.  To get started, simply give us a call.

Nashville: 615-669-3993

Murfreesboro: 615-867-9900

Brentwood: 615-218-2868

Toll-Free: 866-812-8787 (We represent clients across the State of Tennessee)

For more posts about pedestrian safety, check out:

New Technology to Improve Pedestrian Safety

What Happens If You Are Jay Walking and Get Hit By a Car?



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