For many of us living in South Florida, it may come as no surprise that Florida reports a high number of pedestrian fatalities, but did you know that it is the deadliest in the country? According to a new report called “Dangerous by Design” by Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition, nine out of the 20 deadliest cities around the country are in Florida. Orlando was ranked as the least safe, while the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Palm Beach area came in at number 14 on the list.
According to the report, between 2008-2017, the number of pedestrian deaths increased by a whopping 35.7 percent. During the 10-year span, over 49,000 pedestrians were killed, which means that 13 people died per day as they walked near roadways in our country. The state of Florida had 5,433 deaths in the same 10 years, meaning 2.73 deaths per 100,000 people. The national average during that time was 1.5 deaths per 100,000. When calculating the “Pedestrian Danger Index” (PDI) number, Florida was ranked much higher than the national average at 182 versus the national number of 55.3. The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Palm Beach area lost 1,549 people to pedestrian accidents during that time period, for a PDI of 153.5.
Pedestrian Accident Personal Injury Law
Pedestrians always have a duty and obligation to walk in a careful and safe manner, which includes walking in a crosswalk whenever possible. Cars and other operators of vehicles also have a duty to look out for pedestrians, while in the crosswalk or not. In summary, both parties have a responsibility to be careful and pay attention.
Many drivers do not realize that their choice of vehicle increases the risk of a pedestrian suffering serious injury or death in the event of a collision. In a 2018 Detroit Free Press article concerning their investigation in conjunction with the USA Today, it was shown that increasing Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) use increases the likelihood of serious pedestrian injury or death. According to the article, federal safety regulators have found that the higher front-end of SUVs makes it twice as likely that a pedestrian will be killed in a collision with an SUV as with a lower-profile sedan. This is so because the higher bumper and hood profile results in more chest and head injuries rather than the knee and leg injuries typically caused by sedan and sports car collisions with pedestrians.
With the American automobile industry continuing to produce and sell more trucks and SUVs while reducing the number and variety of smaller cars on the market, we can expect the average severity of pedestrian injuries to rise. Given the lack of positive response from automakers, the best protection for pedestrians may be to help raise awareness of the dangers while continuing to aggressively hold negligent drivers responsible.
What to do if You Are Involved in a Pedestrian Accident
If you are involved in an accident as a pedestrian, it’s important to make sure you get a police report and properly report the claim for the incident. Seek medical care and adequate treatment of your injuries. It’s also important to consult with an attorney to be sure the proper paperwork is filed and that the proper parties are notified.
If a pedestrian involved in an accident wants to seek compensation for his or her injuries, there are some things that they should do. It’s best to seek the advice of a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident to determine what steps need to be taken. For example, determine out-of-pocket expenses that have occurred as a result of the accident. If there are any medical expenses, lost wages, or property damage, that should all be verified with proof such as receipts, photographs, and witness statements.
If a loved one is the victim of a pedestrian fatality accident, a personal injury attorney can also help you determine if you can seek compensation.
Tips for Safe Walking
Even though an accident may not always be preventable, your best option is to always do what you can to avoid one. When you are a pedestrian, make sure to practice safe walking by following these tips.
- Avoid distractions such as texting or listening to music when near busy roadways. Always remain alert and aware of the cars around you.
- Never let children walk across a street alone. Always make sure that an adult accompanies young children.
- Don’t run across an intersection in front of moving cars.
- Always wait for the crosswalk signal and avoid jaywalking. Intersections with proper signals are the safest place to cross.
- When crossing in front of a car, make eye contact with the driver. Don’t assume the driver sees you.
- If walking at night, it’s best to wear reflective gear. Don’t wear dark clothing.
- Always walk on the sidewalk if available.
At Panter, Panter, and Sampedro, we are prepared to handle cases involving accidents between automobiles and pedestrians. If you or someone you know has been the victim of an accident where a driver acted negligently, contact us at 305-662-6178.
Robertson, L., & Robertson, L. (n.d.). Walking? You’re risking your life in Florida, the deadliest state for pedestrians. Retrieved from https://miamiherald.com/news/local/article224923045.html
Lawrence, E. D., Bomey, N., & Tanner, K. (2018, July 01). Death on foot: America’s love of SUVs is killing pedestrians. Retrieved from https://freep.com/story/money/cars/2018/06/28/suvs-killing-americas-pedestrians/646139002/