2020 off to deadly start for Nashville pedestrians, drivers

Posted at 10:40 PM, Feb 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-07 23:40:17-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — Statistics show 2020 is off to a deadly start for both pedestrians and drivers in Nashville.

Metro Police officials report fatal crashes have increased 33% compared to last year. Officers believe the reasons include pedestrian deaths and cars veering in and out of lanes.

Five pedestrians have already been killed this year, compared to 2 at this time last year. According to Walk Bike Nashville, 32 people were killed while walking in Nashville in 2019, making it the worst year on record.

“It’s absolutely getting worse,” said Lindsey Ganson, Director of Advocacy and Communications for Walk Bike Nashville. “Each person that is killed is a person who had a family.”

Ganson said 80% of people killed while walking were on four lane roads that have higher speed limits. She said while drivers need to stay alert and slow down, adding more crosswalks, making signals longer and increasing crossing times can make roads safer for cars and pedestrians.

“Even if you make a mistake and you are looking at your phone, and even if a pedestrian is crossing outside of a crosswalk, we can engineer roads that don’t let those mistakes be fatal,” said Ganson.

Ganson said in a growing city, more pedestrians will be walking along roads, as well and drivers need to be prepared. She added she believes pedestrian deaths can be prevented.

“We’re hopeful that the Mayor and Metro government and state government will make investments to make our roads safer.”

A new support group, “Families for Safe Streets,” aims to help victims of crashes and people who have lost loved ones while walking or biking in Nashville. The group’s first meeting will be Wednesday, Feb. 26 from 6-8 p.m. at the East Park Community Center on Woodland Street.