KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Auto Club Group (AAA) has released new survey data highlighting the rise in pedestrian fatalities in Tennessee. The survey captures alarming close calls between drivers and pedestrians on the roads.

According to the new survey data by AAA, almost one-third (31%) of Tennesseans have witnessed a vehicle almost hitting a pedestrian in the last 12 months. Almost one in three Tennesseans have witnessed a car nearly hitting a pedestrian, and one in five pedestrians have almost been hit by a vehicle in the past year according to the survey.

The survey identified drivers and pedestrians engaging in unsafe behaviors, such as crossing the street when the “Don’t Walk” sign is on, walking while impaired, and using mobile phones or headphones.

“Pedestrian safety is an issue that affects everyone, and it’s clear based on our survey that there’s more work to be done in Tennessee to help keep pedestrians safe,” said Megan Cooper, a spokeswoman for AAA.

In 2021, pedestrian fatalities in the United States reached a 40-year high, with 7,388 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes. AAA encourages drivers and pedestrians to adopt safe and responsible behaviors, whether walking or driving while using the road.

AAA also provides valuable guidelines to help pedestrians stay safe, such as wearing light or reflective clothing, staying on sidewalks, and putting away mobile phones while walking. Similarly, drivers are advised to follow speed limits, yield to pedestrians while driving, and avoid distractions.

“Pedestrians and bicyclists are some of the most vulnerable users of the transportation system. Ideally, transportation systems should be built so that if pedestrians or bicyclists are involved in a crash, the odds of serious injury or death are minimized,” said Cooper. “Our overall goal is to help encourage safe, responsible behavior by everyone that uses our roads and prioritize their ability to reach their destination unharmed.”

The survey was conducted online among residents living in Tennessee from September 21-23, 2023. A total of 600 people completed the survey. View the full survey here.