According to a recent report, Florida has one of the highest rates of pedestrian deaths in the United States.
The report was released earlier today by the Governors Highway Safety Association, and stated that nationwide pedestrian deaths increased by 10 percent in the first half of 2015. If this increase persists for the entire year, it will be the largest year-to-year rise in pedestrian deaths in the United States since 1975—the first year this national system was used to record traffic deaths.
The Tampa Tribune reports that four states with especially large populations, Florida, California, Texas, and New York, were responsible for 42 percent of all pedestrian deaths in the nation between January and June 2015. Florida came in second to California, with 273 pedestrian deaths compared to California’s 347. Florida also had the highest rate of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 accidents. Though national pedestrian death rates have increased, the number of pedestrian deaths in Florida dropped by 4 percent compared to the first half of 2014.
This report compiles governors’ highway safety office statistics from every state, and researchers at Sam Schwartz Consulting extrapolated full-year data based on state traffic fatality reports. In the first half of 2015, 2,368 pedestrians were killed nationwide—a 6 percent increase over the same months in the previous year. The researchers believe the year-end increase will go up to 10 percent, as more pedestrian deaths have been recorded in the second half of the year for the past five years. Additionally, they accounted for the fact that more people are likely to be walking near roadways in the warmer months of summer.
Pedestrian deaths have been on the rise across the United States since 2005, and they now make up roughly 15 percent of all traffic deaths. The experts behind this report suggest a number of possible causes for the increase in pedestrian fatalities:
- Warmer weather and shorter winters
- An increased focus on exercise
- The improved economy led to a decline in gas prices, which allows more people to drive for more miles
The majority of pedestrian deaths occur after dark, and reports show that up to one-third of the pedestrians killed had been intoxicated at the time they were hit. Only about 15 percent of drivers involved in accidents are found to be intoxicated.
Richard Retting, co-author of the report, said, "This is really sobering news. Pedestrian safety is clearly a growing problem across the country." It appears that the problem is especially pervasive in Florida, according to this report.
As experienced pedestrian accident attorneys, we understand that it is just as important for pedestrians to observe road safety laws as it is for drivers. We also know that it is crucial to teach all children the proper ways to behave while walking on sidewalks or near roadways. Unfortunately, though, even the most cautious pedestrian cannot protect himself from negligent or dangerous drivers and tragedies occur far too often. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a pedestrian accident, we can help you determine if negligence was involved or if laws were broken and pursue just compensation for your damages. Please contact us today for a free legal consultation.