Pedestrian Deaths on the Rise in Memphis 

Pedestrian Deaths on the Rise in Memphis Commercial Appeal, part of USA Today, recently wrote that a new National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study reveals that pedestrian deaths are increasing. The writeup begins with the tragic profile of a 70-year old man who was killed by a pickup truck. The death has devastated the victim’s family. The older man is one of eight pedestrians in Memphis who have died in a vehicle accident in 2018.

In 2017, 37 Memphis pedestrians were killed. Since 2011, the minimum number of yearly deaths was 13 in 2012. The average number of pedestrian fatalities between 2011 and 2017 is 26.

The NHTSA keeps records on fatal accident across the United States. Since a 2009 national low, pedestrian fatality rates have jumped 46%. In 2016, nearly 6,000 pedestrians died across the United States.

According to the Memphis Police Department, there are a few reasons why so many pedestrian deaths happen. Memphis is a tourist town, so there are more pedestrians around, which increases the risk of being injured. A lot of Memphis residents prefer walking, too. If those pedestrians are not crossing in designated areas, that will lead to an increase in the number of fatal collisions. Finally, “Officials in Memphis also pointed to several other reasons for the increase in pedestrian accidents and deaths in the city, including poverty, distracted driving, and aging infrastructure.”

Cyclists face similar risks as pedestrians

According to Nicholas Oyler, the program manager for Memphis’ bikeway/pedestrian program, many of the dangers for pedestrians also make riding a bicycle a serious risk. Oyler suggests that a big problem is that streets, crosswalks, and sidewalks need to be repaired – they’re difficult to navigate. He calls the streets “dangerous by design.” The reason the manager uses the phrase “dangerous by design,” is that many Memphis roads were designed with the car driver and traffic flow in mind: “For decades when we designed and built streets in Memphis, like in most American cities, we prioritized the efficient flow of car traffic over the needs of any other users of the streets, and that led to the detriment of people who were walking, people who were biking or taking public transit.”

Liability in pedestrian accidents

When pedestrian accidents happen, our Memphis injury lawyers work to hold those at-fault accountable  for the deaths and injuries they cause.

  • The state, counties, cities, and towns may be liable if the road design itself is dangerous, or if they knew about specific dangers in the road (like potholes) but did nothing to repair them.
  • The driver may be liable if he or she was driving negligently or recklessly, leading him or her to hit a pedestrian.
  • A tavern may be liable if it knowingly served alcohol to someone who was intoxicated or to a minor, who then caused the collision.

When a pedestrian or anyone dies through the fault of another, the family of the victim may have the right to bring a wrongful death action for the loss of economic support, loss of guidance and support, the funeral bills, and other applicable damages.

The Memphis car accident lawyers at Bailey & Greer, PLLC, have the experience and resources to help you get justice. We have a strong track record of negotiating high settlements and obtaining just trial verdicts. To speak with a caring advocate, please call us at 901-680-9777 or use our contact form to schedule a cost-free consultation. We represent clients in Memphis, Jackson, West Tennessee, and the nearby areas.