Walking seems to be a more popular outdoor activity than ever before, when many people are looking for a way to get outside for exercise, fresh air and perhaps socialization. However, in Tennessee and elsewhere, pedestrians often share roadways with motorized vehicles, so collisions can happen. When they do, unfortunately, the pedestrian almost always takes the brunt of the damage, sometimes suffering serious injury or even death. Reportedly, the number of pedestrians killed has significantly increased over the past decade, and the author of a recent book on the topic examines the possible causes of this tragic situation.

Larger vehicles and speed are factors

For one, over the last few years, many more people are buying SUVs. In the event of a collision, these larger vehicles are much more likely than a car to kill a pedestrian, mainly because when an SUV strikes a pedestrian, it most often hits the middle of the body, where the most damage can be caused. A smaller vehicle is most likely to hit the pedestrian’s legs, resulting in less damage. In addition to increasing vehicle sizes, people are driving faster, and increase in speed means a much higher possibility of death when a pedestrian is struck.

Distracted driving and shorter lights also contribute

Most people know that distracted driving factors into the increase in pedestrian deaths, but many people still use their phone while driving. According to the author, police accident reports often do not include space to properly report cellphone distraction, and traffic safety officials turn to these reports for accurate details concerning distractions. Lack of crossing time at traffic lights likely also contributes to pedestrian deaths. Apparently, in most cases, traffic lights are set up to give pedestrians enough time to cross at a speed of 3.5 feet per second, and often, older and/or slower pedestrians run out of time before they reach the other side of the road.

Sadly, many people become seriously injured or die while participating in what is supposed to be a healthy, enjoyable activity, and often, a driver’s negligence and/or recklessness causes such a tragedy. When investigative evidence indicates a driver is responsible for a victim’s injuries or death, he or she can be held accountable. In Tennessee, victims or surviving family members can contact a personal injury attorney who can explain their options within the civil justice system.