2020 was a difficult year for everyone, as the impact of COVID-19 will be felt for years to come. We all remember the early days of the pandemic, with school closures, lockdowns, and people working from home. While motor vehicle traffic significantly decreased in 2020 due to less cars being on the road, Shelby County residents may be surprised to learn that in 2020, pedestrian fatalities increased by a shocking 60% from 2019, according to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.
The 2020 pedestrian fatality statistic represents a large increase from prior years. For the sake of comparison, pedestrian deaths in the Memphis area in the preceding years were as follows: 40 in 2019, 32 in 2018, and 38 in 2017. Deaths trended higher nationally as well, per the Governor’s Highway Safety Association.
The victims ranged from 11 years old to 75 years old. Pedestrian fatalities occurred all over town, including Midtown, East Memphis, South Memphis, and Germantown. 64 of these pedestrian deaths were on foot, while 2 were on bicycles.