GHSA report: 2019 pedestrian fatalities bad news for Florida
There is no type of road user in Florida more vulnerable than pedestrians. Every day, they navigate roadway infrastructures designed to accommodate cars and risk their lives crossing the street. While cars have become safer for motorist, they have become increasingly dangerous for pedestrians.
Pedestrians are at risk of sustaining:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Spinal injuries
- Damage to internal organs
- Lacerations, bruises, and contusions
- Permanent nerve damage
Pedestrian fatalities have been rising each year across the United States. From 2009-2018, the number of pedestrians killed on U.S. roads increased by 53 percent. The Governors Highway Safety Association’s (GHSA) released “Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State: 2019 Preliminary Data,” for 2019. The report estimates 6,590 pedestrian fatalities during that year — a 5 percent increase from 2018.
Factors in pedestrian fatalities
The report also indicates that:
- SUVs are posing a greater risk to pedestrians: The number of pedestrian fatalities involving SUVs has increased by 81 percent from 2009-2019. Those involving passenger cars have increased by 53 percent.
- Nighttime pedestrians fatalities are increasing: From 2009-2018, the number of nighttime pedestrian fatalities increased by 67 percent. Those that occurred during the daytime increased by 16 percent.
- Driver error is a leading cause in pedestrian crashes: Vehicle size, time of day, and roadway conditions are only contributing factors. Driver error (distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, etc.) is primarily what endangers pedestrians.
Has Florida seen any improvement in pedestrian safety?
Florida is among the five states identified in the report that account for nearly half of all nationwide pedestrian fatalities. From January - June 2019, the Sunshine State saw a three percent increase in pedestrian fatalities during the same period (359 in 2018 to 368 in 2019).
Walking in Florida can be dangerous for two reasons:
- Pedestrians share the road with drivers: There many areas with beaches and amenities that attract foot traffic in areas where drivers and pedestrians must share the road.
- Poor roadway infrastructure: Much of Florida's driving infrastructure doesn't accommodate pedestrian safety, but rather, high-speed vehicular traffic. For example, some communities don't have enough crosswalks, and many Florida intersections are unsafe to navigate.
What should I do if I'm injured in a pedestrian accident?
We can only blame Florida's dangerous roadway conditions to an extent. Drivers are still expected to stay attentive and maintain a safe speed, even on poorly-designed roads. When their failure to do so causes someone's injury or death, they should be held accountable.
If you or a loved one was injured in a pedestrian accident because of the careless actions of a driver, speak to an experienced West Palm Beach attorney as soon as possible. You could be compensated for medical expenses, wage loss, permanent disability, pain and suffering, and other damages.