Tennessee residents who like to take a walk should be aware that the number of pedestrian accidents, and specifically the number of pedestrians who die, is going up. Pedestrian fatalities had been declining between 1988 and 2009, but now they have seen an unusual increase. It appears that 2019, for which partial traffic death data has been compiled, was no different.

Using this data, the Governors Highway Safety Administration made a preliminary analysis of 2019 and estimated that 6,590 pedestrians died in this country in 2019: 5% more than in 2018 and 60% more than the 4,109 who died in 2009. The last time the number was this high was 1988. As for the fatality rate, it came out to 2.0 deaths per 100,000 people: the highest since 1997.

Naturally, the rate varied from state to state with the highest being in Florida, New Mexico and Hawaii and the lowest in Vermont, Wisconsin and Idaho. California, Arizona, Texas, Georgia and Florida, which together make up about one third of the U.S. population, accounted for 47% of all fatalities in 2019.

All other traffic deaths went up 2% from 2009 to 2018. Pedestrians are being disproportionately affected for several reasons. The GHSA brings up, for example, the rising number of SUVs and light trucks and of drivers distracted by their phones.

Those who survive pedestrian accidents may be able to file a claim against the responsible driver, and if they are successful, they may be reimbursed for their medical expenses, the wages lost during their recovery, their pain and suffering and more. When pedestrians die, the family may file a wrongful death lawsuit. In either case, it may be of benefit to hire a lawyer as he or she may assist with each step, including the settlement negotiations.