Pedestrian Dangers Abound, Despite Overall Decline in Deaths

For the first time in five years, there has been a drop in the number of pedestrians killed, according to preliminary figures comparing the first half of 2013 to the first half of 2012.peoplewalking

According to the Government Highway Safety Association study, this bears true in Florida as well as nationwide. However, we continue to have among the most pedestrian deaths in the country, third only to Texas and California, which are far more populated. These three states account for one-third of all pedestrian deaths nationwide.

Researchers analyzing federal data found that Florida pedestrian fatalities fell from 234 in the first half of 2012 to 179 in the first half of 2013 – a 23 percent drop. But our Fort Myers pedestrian accident lawyers know that still means there is one pedestrian death just about every other day in Florida.

Just recently, a 68-year-old woman was struck by two vehicles in Nassau County, where troopers say two cars hit her as she tried to cross the southbound lanes.

This case points to the heart of the problem, which is that Florida remains highly un-walkable. There are smatterings of Complete Streets initiatives, intended to make roadways safer for those using alternative forms of transportation. The problem is especially troublesome in more urbanized areas.

In Lee County, the Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization has been awarded $10.5 million in federal funds to complete a regional, shared-use trail network that will connect to residential areas, major employment centers, Florida Gulf Coast University and the central business district.

However, the impact of that project remains limited.

Overall in the U.S., the number of pedestrian deaths have reportedly dropped by 8.7 percent, from 2,175 in the first half of 2012 to 1,985 in the first half of 2013.

In terms of demographics, elder pedestrians (over the age of 70) have steadily maintained the highest per capita death rate when they are struck.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has identified this group for specific safety initiatives.

There has been a marked decrease in pedestrian deaths involving children under the age of 12. Back in 1975, children under 12 represented nearly a quarter of all pedestrian deaths. Today, that figure is less than 5 percent, totaling 206 in all of 2012. Advocates attribute this to an increase in awareness and a decrease in exposure.

And even though the overall figures are down, officials with the NHTSA say they are “cautiously optimistic” about the indicated decline. They stress that these are only preliminary figures. Plus, sometimes statistical fluctuations occur without any real explanation, and we could find that 2014 was even more dangerous.

In Orlando, deemed to have one of the highest rates of pedestrian deaths in the country, reporters analyzed crash data from over six years. During that time, there were 333 pedestrian deaths and 250 drivers were deemed at-fault. In those cases, 31 percent were cited for careless driving, 13 percent for hit-and-run, 10 percent for failure to yield, 9 percent for improper backing, 5 percent for red light running, 5 percent for drunk driving, 3 percent for DUI manslaughter, 2 percent for speeding and 13 percent for other violations. Some drivers received multiple citations.

The fact is, most of these cases involve a driver who wasn’t paying attention. A smart street design can serve as one layer of protection in these cases, but it won’t completely eliminate the risk.

Contact the Hollander Law Firm at 888-751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.