While the total number of traffic fatalities decreased across the United States in 2018, pedestrian deaths reached their highest level since 1990. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says 6,283 pedestrian deaths occurred last year, a 3.4% increase over 2017.

In Tennessee, the rate was even higher at 11% as 136 pedestrians died along state roadways in 2018, compared to 123 the year before, and that trend appears to be continuing in 2019. As of mid-October, nine more pedestrians had died than at the same time as last year.

Key takeaways from NHTSA’s 2018 report

While pedestrian and cyclist deaths rose to their highest levels in nearly 30 years last year, the news was mixed when looking at the total picture. Highlights of the report include:

  • 36,560 people died in traffic crashes, a 2.4% decrease from 2017
  • 10,511 fatalities occurred in alcohol-related crashes, a 3.6% decrease
  • 857 cyclists died in 2018, increasing by 6.3%
  • Deaths of female cyclists rose by an alarming 29.2%
  • Deaths of male cyclists rose by 3.2%
  • 1,047 people died in traffic crashes in Tennessee, an increase of 2.2%
  • 243 people died in alcohol-related crashes in Tennessee, a decrease of 3.2%

Safety advocates plead for more protections

While there are many hazards for vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, safety groups say distracted drivers continue to be a significant concern. Advocates also point to the growing trend of Americans buying larger vehicles, such as SUVs and pickup trucks.

But they also say local governments need to do more to improve safety standards by taking several steps, including lowering speed limits, creating more pedestrian-only spaces and bike paths, and improving infrastructures, such as roads, intersections and crosswalks.

Car crashes cause devastating injuries for thousands

More than 800,000 people receive injuries each year across the U.S. as a result of vehicle crashes, forcing them to spend time in an emergency room or be admitted to a hospital. Those injuries come at a tremendous cost physically and financially. If you have been injured in a crash, an experienced and aggressive personal injury attorney will work to get you the compensation you deserve.