Here we go again, another “honor” for the State of Florida. According to a recent study, titled Dangerous By Design, seven of the top most deadly cities in America for pedestrians car accidents are in, you guessed it, Florida. As a Florida personal injury attorney for more than 25 years, Joseph Lipsky, knows too well, having helped dozens of pedestrians seriously injured in accident involving cars or truck, of the dangers pedestrians face when walking along or nearly Florida’s roadways.
The Dangerous by Design study came up with their so-called Pedestrian Danger Index, which is an analytical evaluation of the number of pedestrians who walk to work, and compared it to the number of car accidents in which pedestrians were seriously injured or killed. Nearly 5000 pedestrians were killed in car accidents or truck accidents over the past year, an alarming nationwide rate of 13 wrongful death victims every day. On average, a pedestrian is killed every two hours and injured every seven minutes in a traffic crash. Fourteen percent of all traffic fatalities and an estimated 3 percent of those injured in traffic crashes were pedestrians. To say that the ongoing rise in pedestrian deaths is an epidemic is clearly an understatement. Also of great concern is the fact that although minorities make up only about 1/3rd of the population, nearly 50% of all pedestrian deaths involve a minority. And as expected, the study confirms that those pedestrians 65 and older are fifty percent more likely to be killed by a car or truck.
While much of the blame for pedestrian wrongful deaths is squarely upon the shoulders of the drivers who hit them, the study found that engineers who are responsible for designing streets and sidewalks are also to blame, as they failed to take adequate preventative safety measures to protect pedestrians. Some of the features roadway designers routinely overlook include, wider medians, which allow pedestrians to safely avoid traffic, if they get stuck in the middle of a roadway; more marked crosswalks; and lowering roadway traffic speeds in areas know to have significant pedestrian traffic.
Pedestrians also need to take more responsibility for their own actions by following some simple rules, including:
- Crossing the street at a designated crosswalk or intersection.
- Increase your visibility at night by wearing reflective clothing.
- If there is no sidewalk available, walk on the shoulder and face traffic
- Avoid distractions such by not using your phone while walking near a road.
We agree with the study’s findings that legislators must pass laws which prioritize pedestrian safety. Such legislative action should include requiring safer more pedestrian friendly roadways, lowering the speed limit in areas in which pedestrians walk or ride bicycles to work, and increasing driver education as to their responsibilities to pedestrians. With increased governance and driver education, roads can become safer for pedestrians. The desire to protect pedestrians is why the Department of Transportation declared pedestrian and bicyclist safety as a top priority for the