An Attorney Reveals Why Florida Remains Dangerous for Pedestrians
Florida offers many popular tourist attractions and ideal living for residents, but when it comes to road safety, the Sunshine State ranks poorly.
According to a 2019 report – titled Dangerous By Design and conducted by Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition – nine of the 20 most dangerous cities in the United States for pedestrians are in Florida. The entire metropolitan area of Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach ranked the 14th deadliest in the nation with a total of 1,549 fatalities during the same 10-year period and an annual average of 2.61 deaths per 100,000 people.
What’s causing the rise in pedestrian deaths?
National data cited in the report shows that between 2008-2017, the annual pedestrian death rate increased across the US by more than 35 percent. During that 10-year period, more than 49,000 pedestrians were killed, accounting for more than 13 deaths per day and one death every hour and 46 minutes. Approximately 5,433 of those deaths happened in Florida – giving the state an annual average of 2.73 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people.
According to the report, the pedestrian rate has increased by less than one percent and the rate of vehicle miles traveled has increased by only 8.1 percent.
Street design and road infrastructure are cited as leading factors in pedestrian deaths. Many streets and roadways that were designed specifically for vehicle movement haven’t changed. Updates to infrastructure have been made in recent years but they cater to motor vehicles traveling at high speeds rather than all road users.
Where the does the risk exist?
Demographically, adults over the age of 50 are the most at risk of being struck, particularly because they may experience difficulty with seeing and hearing and may take more time to cross the street.
Of course, we can’t rule out other common factors in Florida’s high rate of pedestrian deaths. Using the same data from 2008-2017, the Governors Highway Safety Administration reports that:
- Pedestrian fatalities at night increased by 45 percent
- Roughly 60 percent of pedestrian fatalities happen on local streets and state highways
- 17 percent are caused by drunk drivers with a BAC of 0.08 or higher
- The majority occur at non-intersection locations
- Pedestrians are twice as likely to be killed by SUVs than sedans
It’s a shame that even with the copious amounts of data identifying the causes of pedestrian fatalities, the death toll continues to climb. While state and federal officials should do more to enhance road infrastructure for pedestrian safety, the careless actions of negligent drivers put the lives of pedestrians in jeopardy each day. In the event that you or a loved one is struck by an inattentive or reckless driver, it’s important to know your rights and the legal options available to you. Contact David J. Glatthorn, P.A. to find out how we can help.