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Pedestrian fatalities jump in Tennessee, despite national drop

For many Nashville residents, traveling on foot might be the best option to get from place to place. Whether a person is close enough to their final destination, doesn't want to put up with traffic congestion or would like some physical activity, there are a number of reasons why walking is a preferred option for many urban dwellers. The unfortunate reality, however, is that being a pedestrian isn't always safe.

Statistics released in recent years by the Governors Highway Safety Administration have raised concerns among pedestrian safety advocates. Between 2009 and 2012, pedestrian fatalities jumped an astounding 15 percent nationwide, even though overall traffic deaths decreased during the same period. This problem was recognized -- and in some cases addressed -- by local leaders across the country.

More recently, the GHSA announced what might be a reversal of that national trend. When comparing the first halves of 2012 and 2013, fatal pedestrian accidents fell by almost 9 percent, which is an encouraging sign to some.

Although national decrease in pedestrian fatalities is welcome news, pedestrians in Tennessee have less to be optimistic about. The GHSA's preliminary data shows that pedestrian deaths actually increased by seven, from 33 to 40, between the first halves of 2012 and 2013.

The GHSA study doesn't provide definite explanations as to why pedestrian fatality rates took a turn. Even though efforts to improve safety might be working in some parts of the country, the recent report shows that more might have to be done in Tennessee. Whether a person is walking across the street or behind the wheel of an SUV, he or she deserves to feel adequately protected against wrongful death.


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