Fatal crashes in Tennessee on the rise despite reduced traffic from pandemic

Middle TN
pedestrian fatal

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Even with reduced traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic, deadly crashes in Tennessee are on the rise.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol reports the total number of crashes are down but the ones that are happening are far more deadly. Particularly when pedestrians are involved.

The Governor’s Highway Safety Association studies this data closely.

Speed may certainly play a role with more drivers taking advantage of the open road.

In Tennessee, a spokesperson for GHSA said another contributing factor may be the type of vehicle involved.

“We have seen trending, we’ve seen a trend here of SUVs. We drive a lot of big vehicles in this country, a lot of big pickup trucks, a lot of SUVs. We know when a pedestrian is struck by an SUV, their chances of survival are significantly less than when they are struck by a car. We’ve seen the percent of fatalities involving SUVs and pedestrians going up over 80% the past few year,” explained Pam Fisher with the Governor’s Highway Safety Association.

But impairment still accounts for about half of fatal crashes.

“When we dig into the data across the country and look at fatalities involving pedestrians, what we see is that 50% of those incidents, those crashes involve alcohol impairment either on the part of the driver, the pedestrian or both. As much as people think distraction is the major problem here, it is a piece of the problem, but we know impairment is really significant,” continued Fisher.

Twenty pedestrians have died in Davidson County in 2020, so far.

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