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Tony Seaton stresses need for action after record number of pedestrian deaths

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, 2015 was a record setting year for pedestrian and bicyclist deaths. There were 120 pedestrian and cyclist fatalities last year, the highest number in the last 20 years. The number represents a nearly 33 percent increase over 2014, when 93 pedestrians and cyclists were killed.

Johnson City traffic accident lawyer Tony Seaton argued that the spike in pedestrian deaths isn't an anomaly. "This is a symptom of the way people drive today," he explained. "Drivers are busy looking at their phones, talking to people, texting. It's an epidemic and it's killing people."

A representative for the Tennessee Highway Patrol said the agency would be focusing significant resources on reducing pedestrian and cyclist deaths in 2016. He said that both drivers and pedestrians could benefit from more education and stricter enforcement of existing laws.

Mr. Seaton welcomes action from the Highway Patrol, but also stressed that change is needed at the local level too. "We have laws on the books that I feel need to be enforced more diligently," he stated. "I see it not just with pedestrians, but also other vehicles. All it takes is for one person to look at their phone for a few seconds to cause a serious and possibly fatal accident."

The Highway Patrol recommends that cyclists take every possible step to make themselves visible on Tennessee's roadways. That includes wearing bright colored shirt and having lights or flashers on the bicycles. The Highway Patrol also suggested that cyclists and runners should avoid busy times, like rush hour and the morning commute.

Mr. Seaton, a traffic accident lawyer in Johnson City, agrees with that advice. "It's sad that cyclists and pedestrians should have to change their behavior, but that's where we are," he exclaimed. "I've seen too many pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers suffer serious injury. I'd highly recommend cyclists and pedestrians take every possible precaution on the roads."TextingDriver2.jpg

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