Pedestrian accident deaths are a national scourge in the United States. Where other countries have managed to cut pedestrian deaths in recent years, the U.S. has experienced a 46 percent increase over the last decade – rising by 5 percent in just 2020 alone. Last year, Florida ranked No. 2 for pedestrian deaths in the U.S., tallying 899 in 2021 preliminary estimates – a 25 percent increase from the year before and 12 percent of the national total.
Alarming as these figures are, they aren’t a total shocker. Florida has consistently ranked among the most dangerous places in the United States to travel on foot – and the U.S. is among the most dangerous countries in the world for pedestrians. As noted in the Dangerous By Design 2022 analysis by Smart Growth America, more than 6,500 people were struck and killed while walking in America in 2020 – about 18 daily. In 2021, the total was 7,485 – more than 20 every single day. Four of the top 10 most dangerous metro areas in America for pedestrians are in Florida. We have 7 metro areas in the top 20, with No. 14 being Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach. No. 1 is Daytona Beach.
Contributing factors include:
- Poor road designs. This is especially true for non-interstate arterial highways that prioritize large cars moving at very high speeds at the expense of other types of travelers (particularly in poorer income areas). These account for 15 percent of our country’s roads, but 70 percent of all pedestrian deaths.
- Larger vehicles. SUVs and crossovers account for about 50 percent of the market share for all passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. Average car size is increasing across the board, but Americans have much fewer options for smaller cars compared to their European, South American, and Asian counterparts. Our most popular vehicles increased in average car size by 21 percent from 1982 to 2017.
- Distracted, careless drivers. This has always been an issue, of course, but smartphones and in-vehicle technology have never before been so immersive. Workers, parents, loved ones – we’re all expected to be engaged and in touch at all times, even at the expense of other key tasks – like driving.
- An aging population. Older people in some communities are more likely to walk than drive. They’re more vulnerable to accidents because they move slower and their vision, hearing, and reflexes are not what they once were. And when they are involved in pedestrian accidents, they’re at higher risk of serious and fatal injuries.
Florida, along with California, Georgia, Texas, and Arizona, account for nearly half of all pedestrian accident deaths in the country.
Legal Options in Florida Pedestrian Accident Aftermath
Surviving loved ones of those who have been killed in South Florida pedestrian accidents may face several challenges in pursuing justice – both in the civil and criminal justice system. Continue reading