MTA Bus Accidents in Nashville
Earlier this year, I wrote about an incident in which an MTA bus hit a 64-year-old woman and dragged her more than 50 yards at the intersection of Charlotte Avenue and 5th Avenue North in downtown Nashville. The Murfreesboro resident life suffered life-threatening injuries but survived the accident following surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Then, late last month, a Nashville MTA bus struck another pedestrian at that same intersection. According to the Tennessean, the man in question was in a crosswalk when he was struck, and thankfully, suffered non-life threatening injuries.
This is more than a trend; it is disturbing. There are far too many Nashville residents being injured by the negligent acts and just plain bad driving of MTA bus drivers.
Nashville Pedestrian Safety
On the one hand, the City of Nashville seems committed to improving pedestrian safety. The city is engaged in active effort to try to improve the quality and safety of various intersections. For instance, at present, there are ongoing improvements in progress at 14 select intersections in Davidson County.
Improvements deemed necessary at dangerous intersections have included:
- repaving and restriping intersections
- new sidewalks and new signals
- new curb ramps and crosswalks
The city has established a Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, which aims to “further Nashville’s goal of becoming a bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly city.” Nashville has also developed a Moving in Harmony campaign, which is designed to “increase pedestrian, cyclist and motorist safety with an end goal of eliminating deaths and reducing injuries due to pedestrian or bicycle and motor vehicle collisions.”
Yet the city—and the United States as a whole—still have a long way to go when it comes to preventing pedestrian injuries and fatalities.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) there were 5,376 pedestrian deaths in the U.S. just two years ago, making pedestrians “one of the few groups of road users to experience an increase in fatalities.”
Meanwhile, the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) reported that there were 1,250 pedestrians injured in Tennessee during that same period. And during a recent, representative five-year time frame, 69 pedestrians were killed and 1,118 were injured on Davidson County roads.
I would suggest a significant part of the problem, at least as pertains to incidents involving MTA, is the actions of the MTA drivers. I have personally observed many occasions where these bus drivers believe they own the road. I frequently see them fail to yield, speed and run yellow lights just as they are turning to red. I would strongly encourage the leaders of Metropolitan Nashville to focus on the actions of their drivers and offer better training and stricter penalty for bad driving.
Tennessee Pedestrian Laws
That being said, there are still some things we, as pedestrians, can do to improve our chances of staying safe. The above statistics suggest it’s worth taking a few minutes to review Tennessee’s pedestrian laws.
As noted by the aforementioned THSO, “Drivers shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway, and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary…. [And] in a crosswalk, cars shall yield the right of way, slowing down or stopping, to a pedestrian crossing within a crosswalk” (TCA 55-8-136 and TCA 55-8-134, respectively).
But pedestrians have their own set of obligations. For instance:
- “At a ‘Walk’ signal, pedestrians facing the signal may cross in the direction of the signal and shall be given the right-of-way by the drivers of all vehicles. At a ‘Don’t Walk’ signal, pedestrians should not cross the roadway unless they have partially completed crossing when the ‘Don’t Walk’ signal appears, then they should completely cross the roadway.” (TCA 55-8-111)
- “Pedestrians crossing the road at any point other than a crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway. Crossing at any other place besides a marked crosswalk or intersection is not allowed.” (TCA 55-8-135)
- “Where sidewalks are not provided or are obstructed, pedestrians should walk only on the left side of the roadway or its shoulder facing traffic that may approach from the opposite direction.” (TCA 55-8-138)
- As you may notice, this last law is commonly violated, but in this age of distracted driving—which is a major problem in Tennessee—it’s safer to face traffic, where you can see vehicles coming in your direction. Of course, it should go without saying, but if you’re walking on Nashville roads, resist the temptation to be distracted by your own electronic device(s), thereby taking your eyes and ears off the road.
Safety Tips For Pedestrians
For your own safety, I encourage you to review the additional pedestrian safety tips found above from the NHTSA’s Everyone is a Pedestrian brochure.
And if you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident—whether hit by an MTA bus, truck or automobile—don’t hesitate to reach out to the pedestrian accident lawyers at Raybin & Weissman. Contact our office online or call 615-256-6666 to discuss your pedestrian accident injury concerns with one of our caring Nashville attorneys.