Ft. Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky reminds everyone living in South Florida that contrary to popular opinion, walking along Florida’s roadways is more dangerous than you think. In fact, the likelihood of being struck by a car as a pedestrian, in what is referred to as a pedestrian accident, is higher in Florida than in anywhere else in America. Incredibly, nearly one-half of the deadliest cities for pedestrians are in Florida. According to a report from the National Complete Streets Coalition, the leaders are Orlando, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.
When politicians and planning mapped out our state, their desire was for efficient and fast travel. Unfortunately, that quest for speed had the unwanted effect of making pedestrian safety an afterthought. Considering more than 4,000 pedestrians die each year in car accident, a rate of one wrongful death pedestrian car accident every two hours, it is no wonder that pedestrian wrongful deaths from car accidents have actually rise over the past few years, while car accident deaths have actually dropped about six percent in the same time period.
Florida had almost 5,500 pedestrian wrongful deaths in the past decade; a fatality rate of 2.73 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people, which equates to the study’s a Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) of 182.0. The number of car accident versus pedestrian deaths in Florida is significantly higher than the national average of 1.55 per 100,000 and a PDI of 55. We are significantly higher than states with larger populations, including Texas, California and New York.
In South Florida, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, more than 1,500 pedestrians died after being struck by a motor vehicle. And while Orlando had more than 650 car accident related pedestrian deaths over the past decade, its PDI of 313.3 is off the charts in terms of danger.
The study concluded that state planners, thinking only about vehicle convenience, built wide roads and long blocks which priorities vehicles and disregarding pedestrian and bike rider safety.
Not surprisingly, the older and less affluent members of South Florida, those who have limited choices but to walk are more likely to be the victims of car accident involving pedestrians which lead to death. Older pedestrians, who walk slower than younger members of our community, often find themselves taking longer to cross streets, making them more vulnerable. And according to the NHTSA, the ever growing number of SUVs on the road are 2 – 3 times more likely to be involved in a crash in which a pedestrian is a fatality.
Hopefully the Federal Highway Administration roll-back of car centric regulations will allow for the design and construction of safer streets with slower traffic. The FHA’s research indicates that pedestrian deaths drastically drop at speeds slower than 30 m.p.h.
We your Ft. Lauderdale car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Joseph Lipsky, agree with the Complete Streets directive that we should stop calling pedestrian deaths as unavoidable accidents, because these deaths are preventable. Unfortunately, despite them being preventable pedestrian car accident deaths and injuries happen every day. This is why it is also important for all vehicle owners to have uninsured motorist coverage. Most people don’t realize that if you have uninsured motorist coverage on your vehicle it “follows” you where you are, even if you are a pedestrian or riding a bicycle. As many car versus pedestrian accidents involve the driver leaving the scene, the pedestrian’s own car insurance, if they have uninsured motorist coverage, will allow them to have a source of recovery even if the driver who hit them is never identified.