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AAA: Pedestrians, bicyclists in increasing danger

In busy, congested cities such as Nashville, there are an incredible number of people, signs, moving objects and more for drivers to track as they make their ways on our streets. The last things they should be keeping an eye on is their phones.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a new report that shows hit-and-run crashes are skyrocketing. Pedestrians and bicyclists are usually the victims in fatal hit-and-run collisions that transportation experts say are often the result of distracted driving.

Among the many shocking figures in the report: 2,049 people died in hit-and-run crashes in 2016, up 60 percent from 2009. That's the highest single-year total of hit-and-run fatalities since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began compiling the data back in 1975.

AAA spokesperson Beth Mosher said drivers are more likely to take off after a crash resulting in the death of a pedestrian or bicyclist than after a fatal wreck involving another vehicle. She said that in a two-car crash, vehicles are less likely to be drivable afterwards.

Joseph Schwieterman, director of the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University, said there’s another reason people flee after fatal pedestrian and bicyclist crashes: “Motorists who text while driving are especially apt to hit pedestrians. Some, realizing their gross negligence, panic and quickly leave the scene.”

He said traffic congestion also contributes to driver frustration, which in turn can lead to aggressive driving that puts pedestrians and bicyclists in danger.

If you or a loved one has been hurt while walking or riding a bicycle, contact an attorney experienced in personal injury litigation.

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