Recently, three tourists were injured in Fort Lauderdale after they were struck by a vehicle on Dania Beach Road. All three were family members on vacation from Utah. All were seriously injured, and one lost her foot.
According to news reports, the trio were reportedly walking back to their hotel along Southwest 42nd Street after dinner. They were in a wide swath of grass when a pickup truck driver veered toward them and crossed over from the westbound lane to the eastbound lane and then onto the shoulder of the road. Authorities said speed and alcohol are likely factors in this pedestrian accident.
Florida – and South Florida in particular – is a perilous place for pedestrians, and has been for some time. Addressing these issues may take an approach that considers better traffic engineering and more targeted enforcement. However, those efforts can only go so far if drivers continue to disregard our traffic laws and the safety of pedestrians. Two recent reports show the problems, at least for now, aren’t getting better.
The Governors Highway Safety Association recently released its 2016 preliminary data on Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State. It’s a 38-page report that begins with this: The number of pedestrian accident deaths in the U.S. has increased by 25 percent from 2010 to 2015, while total traffic deaths climbed by about 6 percent.
The latest figures, looking at statistics from the first six months of 2016, during which they noted an increase of 7 percent from the previous time frame in 2015. However, after adjusting for the under-reporting in those preliminary figures, the number of pedestrians killed last year is estimated to have increased by 11 percent compared with 2015. That’s the largest annual increase in 40 years – the second largest being from 2014 to 2015.
What’s more, pedestrian deaths as a portion of the total number of traffic deaths has also risen, from 11 percent back in 2006 to 15 percent in 2015. Based on this preliminary data, it’s believed about 6,000 pedestrians died nationally last year. Four states – Florida, California, Texas and New York – accounted for 42 percent of those.
Now let’s talk specifically about state-level data.
In Florida in the first six months of 2016, there were 301 reported pedestrian accident deaths. That’s compared to 277 during the same time frame – January through June – of 2015, an 8.7 percent increase. It wasn’t the largest spike, but it was higher than the national average increase of 7 percent.
In terms of sheer numbers, Florida ranked No. 3, with California and Texas both counting more fatalities. However, consider that both of these states have population numbers that far exceed our own, which means the rate of pedestrian fatalities is much higher here than the other two states. New York ranked 4th.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles released a report late last year detailing traffic accident deaths from 2015 as compared to 2014. With regard to pedestrian accidents specifically, state officials reported there were:
- 9,085 reported pedestrian accidents in 2015 – a 2.79 percent increase from a year earlier.
- 632 pedestrian accident deaths in 2015, an increase of 4.3 percent from the year before.
- 7,870 pedestrian accident injuries in 2015, a 1.72 percent increase from 2014.
Some of the strategies outlined by the GHSA to reduce pedestrian accident fatalities and injuries include:
- Separating pedestrians from motor vehicles by creating refuge islands, building more sidewalks and overpasses, provide ample crossing time at traffic signals;
- Making pedestrians more visible to drivers by improving street lighting and designing high-visibility crosswalks;
- Engineering and enforcing measures to lower speeds by creating “road diets,” roundabouts, traffic-calming devices (i.e., speed bumps and curb extensions) and automated enforcement in addition to traditional enforcement;
- Increasing public awareness through various public information campaigns.
If you have been injured or hurt in a Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident, you may have a number of legal avenues from which to pursue compensation.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State, March 2017, GHSA
More Blog Entries:
FHP Launches Program to Help Solve Hit-and-Run Crash Cases, April 3, 2017, Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Blog