In the first half of 2013, 1,985 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle collisions in the United States. This is a reduction from the 2,175 people killed in the same period of time in 2012.
Experts are touting the reduction in traffic collision fatalities among walkers, although they admitted that they had no idea why the number of deaths declined. Unfortunately, the news wasn't all good. The reality is that this 8.7 percent decline in deaths is not nearly enough to offset the fact that pedestrian fatalities have increased 15 percent since 2009. Experts were also at a loss to explain the average 4.9 percent growth in pedestrian accident fatalities that has occurred in the past three years.
With so many traffic deaths affecting pedestrians in the United States, it's clear that a real effort needs to be made to improve conditions and make the roads safer for people who want to walk. Pedestrians involved in accidents or surviving family members of those killed should consider speaking with accident attorneys in West Palm Beach who can help pursue a claim for compensation after a collision.
Practical Solutions to Reduce Pedestrian Accident Deaths
Florida is one of just three states that account for 1/3 of all pedestrian accident deaths (Texas and California are the other two). The 2011 pedestrian fatality rates in the state of Florida were nearly double the national average, prompting Florida to create a Strategic Safety Plan for improving road conditions for walkers and bicyclists.
Outside of the state of Florida, there are also a variety of different proposals and suggestions that could reduce the risk of pedestrian collision fatalities including:
- Increasing federal spending to protect pedestrians and bicyclists. A 2012 benchmark report revealed that while bicycle and walking trips made up 12 percent of trips in the United States, only 1.6 percent of federal transportation dollars go towards the needs of bicyclists or walkers. Each dollar that is spent on improving conditions for walkers and riders could net as much as $11.80 in benefits, so making an investment in pedestrian safety would be a wise use of funding.
- Encouraging uniform adoption of tested principles. As of 2013, there were 283 local jurisdictions in the United States that had written Complete Streets policies. These policies require taking into account the needs of all road users when undertaking transportation projects, including kids, the elderly, public transportation users, walkers and bicycle riders. Taking all road users into account at all stages of the design project can make the roads much safer, and a new federal law called the Safe Streets Act of 2014 would require all states and local municipal organizations to use Complete Streets principles. However, it is unclear if the law will pass.
- Reducing the speed limit on roads with high pedestrian traffic. An analysis of traffic accident deaths in one city revealed that there tend to be more pedestrian deaths in auto-centric areas where traffic speeds are higher on average. Reducing the speed limit and enforcing the lower limit with speed cameras is one proposal to reduce the number of fatal collisions.
All of these possible suggestions could perhaps start to make a real difference in keeping pedestrians alive on Florida roads.
Accident attorneys in West Palm Beach can help. Contact David J. Glatthorn today at 800-990-9394.