Pedestrian Deaths on the Rise Across South Florida
Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky knows too well how dangerous our roadways have become and resulted in a steady rise in pedestrian accidents. Having helped seriously injured Floridians for nearly thirty years, he has investigated and pursued justice for hundreds of pedestrians and bike riders who have been involved in a car or truck accident throughout Miami, Fort Lauderdale, the Florida Keys and the Palm Beaches. Unfortunately, pedestrian crashes are on a worrying rise. In fact, the number of pedestrians killed across America have now hit a nearly 30-year high, up from nearly 50% of the past ten years.
Recently researches have begun to focus on the causes of this deadly rise, as they’ve come to realize that the majority of pedestrian wrongful deaths are not the result of bad luck, but rather due to poor planning by engineers and politicians who have routinely ignored needed safety studies before building new roadways. Additionally, the growing number of large SUVs on the road has contributed to the increase in deadly collisions.
Most drivers do not realize that due to the height of SUVs they are prone to strike pedestrians in their torso, the site of vital organs, rather than in their legs – which may result in fractures, but not death. Studies found that SUVs cause nearly 110 wrongful deaths per 1,000 pedestrian collisions versus 45 caused by cars.
Distracted driving is another significant factor in the rise in pedestrian deaths, despite that fact that most police departments do not have reports which adequately report the role cell phone use plays in pedestrian and bicycle accidents. However, as nearly all drivers admit to using their phones while behind the wheel it is clear that the role distracted drivers play in pedestrian accidents is underreported.
Additionally, safety engineers have failed to consider the speeds they allow on roads which are known to have significant pedestrian traffic. This is particularly concerning as the majority of pedestrians die in crashes where a vehicle was driving more than forty miles per hour. This is an easily correctable issue which lower speed limits, roadway cameras and better road design including better and more streetlights are able to address. Roadway design in particular can an immediate impact on pedestrian death prevention, by simply providing more crosswalks and stop signs; sadly, most drivers will not stop for pedestrians at unmarked intersections. Also by providing additional time for pedestrian to cross marked crosswalks, traffic engineers can save lives particularly in locations with an older population which walks slower.
More deadly pedestrian crashes happen in suburban areas where high speed roads are located near homes and apartments.
Lastly, public relations campaigns are needed to change the narrative journalists use when reporting pedestrian crashes. Too often those stories blame the injured or deceased pedestrian without regards for a poorly designed road or a speeding motorist. Having continually battled the ongoing tort reform narrative, Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer Joseph Lipsky agrees that the term “accident” which implies there’s no fault for a crash, that discussion about pedestrian versus car incidents should be referred to as a “collision.”