NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Last month, two pedestrians who were reportedly crossing streets miles apart in Nashville were killed after being struck by cars, with only about 30 minutes passing in between the crashes.
It’s a fairly common occurrence in Nashville, which saw the deadliest year for pedestrian fatalities on record in 2022. Each October is a reminder of the large number of pedestrians struck by cars each year in the city as the nation recognizes Pedestrian Safety Month.
Data from the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) shows the city is not far off from the number of fatal and serious injury crashes reported by the same time last year and is already nearing the total 105 pedestrian-involved crashes in 2021.
However, the number of deadly pedestrian crashes in the city seems to be trending slightly lower than the last two years.
Of the crashes reported in 2021, 33 were deadly. According to TDOT, the number of fatal pedestrian crashes rose to 44 last year. In total, there were 141 fatal and serious injury pedestrian crashes in 2022, and a large chunk of those crashes happened in December.
In at least eight of those crashes, officials determined the driver had either been drinking alcohol or was under the influence of drugs. Four more crashes were attributed to speeding and two happened in work zones.
As of October, TDOT data shows there have been 91 fatal and serious injury pedestrian crashes in Nashville this year, with 22 of those being deadly. By the same time last year, 108 total crashes had been reported. A little over 30 were fatal.
The city has already surpassed the 84 crashes reported by October in 2021. However, more of those crashes were deadly with 26 fatalities reported at the time.
Of the 91 pedestrian-involved crashes this year, eight have reportedly involved an intoxicated driver, three have been attributed to speeding and two have been in a construction zone.
Some of the hotspots this year, according to TDOT’s map of crashes, include parts of Murfreesboro Pike, West End Avenue, Koreans Veterans Boulevard and Dickerson Pike, where there have been multiple injuries and fatalities reported.
Similar trends were seen last year. Over the last three years, there have been 337 fatal or serious injury crashes in Nashville. In past reports, organizations like Walk Bike Nashville have said the city’s infrastructure plays a large role in why so many people are getting hit by cars.
As a result of pedestrian fatalities rising nearly every year, the Metro Council and Former Mayor John Cooper adopted the Vision Zero Action and Implementation Plan in August 2022 — a five-year plan aimed at eliminating pedestrian and traffic deaths.
Part of that plan includes fixing dangerous roads, lowering speed limits and adding lighting to darker areas, but the impact of such ideas remains to be seen. However, both drivers and pedestrians can take more immediate precautions to help make the roads safer.
The Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) offers several tips for drivers and pedestrians. Drivers should remember to share the road and look out for pedestrians at all times, as well as use extra caution when driving in hard-to-see conditions or dimly lit areas.
Drivers should also remember to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk as there may be people crossing that can’t be seen. Slowing down in school zones and neighborhoods can also help prevent crashes.
Meanwhile, pedestrians should be following the rules of the road and obeying signs and signals. That includes crossing at crosswalks and looking for cars. The THSO advises pedestrians to walk on sidewalks whenever possible, and if not, walk facing traffic as far from the road as possible.
Pedestrians should also refrain from looking at electronic devices and stay alert at all times. Wearing reflective, bright clothing can also help drivers see pedestrians at night and in dark areas.
To learn more safety tips, click here.