Articles Posted in Pedestrian Accidents

Most people know about the role distracted driving plays in causing car accidents, but many people don’t realize that texting or surfing the internet on your smartphone while walking is equally dangerous. A recent study revealed that accidents and injuries to pedestrians using so-called smart phones has doubled in the last seven years. We, as personal injury lawyers who help accident victims in Fort Lauderdale, a community in which many of our fellow residents enjoy taking long walks, were alarmed by the rapid increase in distracted walking accidents.

The study, which appeared in the most recent edition of Accident Analysis and Prevention, was the result of an analysis of accident data reported from hundreds of hospital emergency rooms across the country. Some of the most frequently noted pedestrian smartphone related accidents involved fall down accidents from elevated sidewalks and pedestrians being distracted enough to walk onto roadways.

Not surprisingly, the most frequently injured class of smart phone using pedestrians is made up of people under thirty year of age. That age groups increasing and constant use of social media services, and their instant, need it now, mentality is certainly a contributing reason for their prevalence of injuries and accidents. To try an arrest these distracted walking accidents, many colleges have begun educating students to the dangers of using smart phones while walking. The basic rule, just like those taught about using a smartphone while driving, is before reaching for your phone-stop walking and move out of the way.

As personal injury attorneys helping the victims of car accidents in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach and throughout Florida, we too are concerned by a recently released study from the NHTSA which revealed that while wrongful deaths from car accidents continue to drop, pedestrian deaths from roadway accidents rose over the last year. The increase in pedestrian deaths is the first in over 4 years.

The deadly increase has the government stumped. Speculation of reasons for the increase include greater numbers of walkers, either for exercise or due to the economy, along multi-lane roadways, which were constructed to help alleviate traffic, but did not adequately consider pedestrian traffic. Sadly, the three most deadly cities for pedestrians are all in Florida.

Other possible causes for the increase in fatalities include pedestrians also being distracted, just like drivers, by using their smart phones while walking near traffic. And, incredibly almost half of all pedestrian wrongful deaths involved alcohol use by either the pedestrian or the vehicle driver. We urge everyone who is walking or riding a bicycle to be particularly careful of the two ton vehicles traveling around them.

As personal injury attorneys helping injured victims of car accidents throughout Florida, we are happy to report that wrongful deaths from car accidents fell to the record lows last year. According to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles the car accident death rate dropped to 1.25 deaths per 100 million roadway miles traveled.

The statistics indicate that car accident involved wrongful deaths across Florida fell almost 5% over the last year. Unfortunately, last year in Florida almost 2500 people still died in traffic related accidents. And, deaths of pedestrians increased almost 4% during the same time period.

Regardless of the reasons, whether less people are driving due to the economy, or that vehicles are becoming safer, less traffic fatalities are good news.

Not surprisingly, a recent study by Transportation for America ranked our South Florida region of Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach as the fourth most dangerous area for car accidents and wrongful deaths involving pedestrians in the United States. According to the report, more than 1500 pedestrians died in car and truck accidents in the South Florida area between 2000 and 2009. That is a shocking number of deaths, considering many cities have actually installed additional safety improvements, including cross-walks with countdown clocks.

Thankfully, despite possible reductions in Federal funding, Broward County engineers, for the first time, have placed greater emphasis on the interaction between traffic and pedestrians, including bike riders, in their plans for roadway construction for the next 25 years. Such safety actions include the building of additional bike lanes and pedestrian walks.

While it is imperative for the Florida Legislature to continue with their studies to determine solutions for this epidemic, as personal injury attorneys we hope everyone remembers that old saying, “look left, look right, and look left again, before entering a roadway.”

As personal injury attorneys handling wrongful death cases throughout the State of Florida, we know too well how dangerous our roads are for pedestrians. Now, a report from Transportation for American and the AARP, confirms that Florida is the most dangerous state for pedestrians, as over 5000 died between 2000 and 2009.

Florida’s deadly accidents were more than 10% of the 47,000 pedestrians deaths confirmed nationwide from car accidents or truck accidents during the past decade. Not surprisingly, the four most deadly cities for pedestrians are Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Jacksonville and Miami-Fort Lauderdale.

Incredibly, a means of reducing these needless deaths, including various proposals brought up in the Florida Legislature did not get enacted into law. Such proposals included fines for texting while driving and mandating classes for new drivers on the dangers brought about by texting behind the wheel. Not surprisingly, Florida remains one of the only states without such texting regulations. We can only hope that in the next legislative session, the carnage caused by such reckless behavior is finally addressed.

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