Pedestrian Deaths Are On The Rise
On September 13, 2019, a twenty-four-year-old aspiring teacher lost her life when she was struck by a semi-truck as she walked across Military Trail. Subsequent investigations have revealed that the intersection itself may have contributed to the tragedy with neighbors noting that sidewalks are closed, there is ongoing construction, and the crosswalk signals only work sporadically.
These factors coupled with increased traffic and a rise in distracted driving have made this intersection so dangerous that a nearby business routinely sends employees out to help pedestrians cross the street….and even offer some a ride rather than see them face the risks of walking.
Unfortunately, this tragedy has become all too common as pedestrian deaths across the country have seen a sharp increase over the past several years. According to the U.S. Governors Highway Safety Association, the number of pedestrian fatalities increased by more than 35% in just nine years from 2007-2018. Worse still, this rise continued into 2018 resulting in the highest number of pedestrian deaths in more than 25 years.
Florida is on the forefront of this epidemic, ranking number four in overall pedestrian fatalities. Although this ranking might be expected given the size of Florida’s population (which ranks 3rd overall in the nation), it turns out that just five states (including Florida) make up nearly half of all pedestrian deaths across the entire country.
Although there is no definitive data establishing a reason behind the steep rise in pedestrian deaths over the past decade, it is interesting to note that during this same period overall deaths arising from automobile collisions actually decreased. These conflicting trends may be explained by the fact that the states with the highest rates of pedestrian death correlate to the fact that states with high population growth are not generally known for their walkability. In other words, as the populations and demographics of these states change, infrastructure modifications to reflect a greater number of pedestrians have often lagged behind.
The increase in the number of pedestrians combined with the fact that infrastructure in many places (particularly in Florida) is not yet geared to walkability standards means that it is more important than ever that drivers stay focused and pay attention to their surroundings. Doing so may, quite literally, save a life.
The law firm of Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith, PLLC has been assisting injury victims throughout South Florida for more than 95 years. If you have questions about an injury case, the firm’s attorneys are always available to offer free consultation and advice.
This blog is by attorney Josh Ferraro.