As we recently reported on our Broward Injury Lawyer Blog, the number of pedestrian accidents here in the Sunshine State is on the rise. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) recently released a statement confirming these findings.
While accident fatality numbers are decreasing, the number of pedestrians and bicyclists in these accidents continues to climb. Our Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident attorneys also recently reported on the increase in the number of bicyclist fatalities. There were about 75 bicyclists killed in Florida in 2010 and about 120 killed in 2011. Thousands are seriously injured each year in collisions with motor vehicles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released all of this information in detail. Their headline focuses on the fact that the total number of traffic fatalities is down about 2 percent from the previous year and down more than 25 percent since 2005. What should be the focus is the fact that bicycle, pedestrian and motorcyclist fatalities are significantly up.
Broward County is ranked number one in the state when it comes to these kinds of accidents. Drivers just aren’t looking out for these vulnerable travelers — and bicyclists and pedestrians continue to pay the price.
In the Sunshine State, there were about 500 walkers killed while walking throughout the state.
Nationwide, more than 10 percent of traffic fatalities are of pedestrians. What might be most alarming is the fact that only about 2 percent of federal funds are set aside to improve pedestrian and cycling safety. Most of our roadways are designed only for fast-moving, vehicular traffic.
“Traffic crashes are largely avoidable, and so I would urge drivers to give their full attention to the road when they are behind the wheel,” said the DHSMV Executive Director, Julie Jones.
With the New Year, we’re asking drivers to renew their vow to be safer travelers. We’re asking everyone behind the wheel to keep an eye out for bicyclists and pedestrians along our Florida roadways. The truth of the matter is that our year round beautiful weather provides some of the most ideal conditions for these travelers. When they’re out and about during the winter months, we see significant increases in the risks for accidents and ultimately an increase in the number of injuries and fatalities. But that can be changed with more driver awareness. Take that extra second to look for a bicyclist or a pedestrian when making a turn in traffic. In most cases, drivers of motor vehicles are at fault in these kinds of accidents. It’s important to keep away from the distractions and to keep all of our attention on the road and on other travelers.
“Even as we celebrate the progress we’ve made in recent years, we must remain focused on addressing the safety issues that are continuing to claim more than 30,000 lives each year,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.