Pedestrian Deaths on the Rise in Nashville

| Read Time: 3 minutes

We care deeply about our clients’ safety and well-being both on and off the road. In honor of NHTSA’s recent National Pedestrian Safety Awareness Month campaign, Cory Watson Attorneys is raising awareness for pedestrian safety.

Over the past decade, pedestrian deaths related to motor vehicle accidents have climbed at an alarming rate. That trend has unfortunately continued in 2021 across the United States as well as here in Tennessee.

Whether you’re shopping downtown, out for an evening run, or walking to the stadium for a football game, you’re always considered a pedestrian. This concerning trend hits close to home for everyone, but it especially impacts residents of a booming city like Nashville.

According to Walk Bike Nashville, the months of November, December, January, and February typically see pedestrian deaths surge nationwide. There’s not a more critical time than the present to learn the statistics, stay informed, and take necessary steps to ensure your safety.

The Stats
Source: Walk Bike Nashville (unless otherwise noted)

  • In 2018
    • 22 pedestrians were killed in Nashville
  • In 2019
    • 33 pedestrians were killed in Nashville.
  • In 2020
    • 38 pedestrians were killed in Nashville.
  • In 2019, 6,205 pedestrians died nationwide due to motor vehicle accidents (NHTSA).
  • In 2020, 6,721 pedestrians died nationwide due to motor vehicle accidents – an 8% increase from the year before.
  • So far in 2021, the number of pedestrian deaths in Nashville is outpacing 2020.
  • Seven pedestrians have been killed this year in Knoxville, according to local authorities. That alarming number is more per capita than Nashville.

The Facts (As of 2019)
Source: Tennessee Traffic Fatalities Historical Report (unless otherwise noted)

  • A pedestrian was killed every 85 minutes due to a motor vehicle accident in 2019.
  • Pedestrians accounted for 17% of all traffic-related fatalities across the United States.
  • The evening hours are the most dangerous time of day for people to be on the streets.
    • More than 26% of deaths occurred between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Nearly 75% of pedestrian deaths recorded in Nashville over the past five years occurred during nighttime hours (Walk Bike Nashville).
  • State roads are where 80% of pedestrian deaths happen.
    • Compare to local roads, which were tied to 20% of pedestrian deaths.

Safety tips for Pedestrians

  • Forget jaywalking. Only cross the street at a designated crosswalk – nowhere else.
  • Even if you’re crossing at a stoplight or stop sign and the walk sign is on, stay within the marked lines and be on the lookout for vehicles. This can be lifesaving if an accident happens.
  • Stay alert and aware of your surroundings when you’re on the sidewalk. Everyone has text messages and phone calls to answer, but avoid looking down at your phone for extended periods of time. If an accident happens nearby, it’s crucial that you have enough time to respond appropriately.

Safety tips for Drivers

  • Stay attentive while operating a vehicle and distance yourself from distractions like cellphones or food/drinks. The best thing you can do for yourself and pedestrians as a driver is to stay constantly aware of your surroundings.
  • Yield to crossing pedestrians. Remember that it’s best to play it safe when it comes to pedestrians—after all, you’re the one operating a potentially dangerous vehicle. If you’re unsure who has the right of way then stay put and allow them to cross safely.
  • If a vehicle in front of you has stopped—and there’s no clear reason for it—it can be tempting to pass them without knowing why they have stopped. There could be an obstacle – or even a pedestrian – in front of the driver ahead of you that you cannot see. Always exercise caution and patience while driving.

Cory Watson’s personal injury attorneys fight to get justice and much-needed compensation for those injured by a negligent driver. Every case is our most important case, so call us today at 205-328-2200 or submit a 100% free case review to get started.


Cory Watson Attorneys is a nationally recognized personal injury law firm with offices in Birmingham, Alabama; Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee. The firm has recovered more than $3 billion for clients across the country. Attorneys are frequently at the forefront of major class actions and multidistrict litigations involving dangerous pharmaceuticals and product liability, and are often appointed to leadership positions in national cases. Firm practice areas include Personal Injury, Product Liability, Class Action, Asbestos, Business & Commercial Litigation, Dangerous Pharmaceuticals, Defective Medical Devices, and Environmental/Toxic Torts. To learn more, visit CoryWatson.com.

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