FLORIDA PEDESTRIAN FATALITIES
Despite being the seemingly safer mode of travel and regardless of having the right-of-way under Florida law, pedestrians face dangerous risks when they make the decision walk.
According to the 2016 Dangerous by Design report by Smart Growth America, Florida leads the list of the most dangerous states for pedestrians. Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater also ranked at the top of the list for the most dangerous metropolitan communities in America. Between 2005 and 2014, approximately 821 pedestrian deaths were reported between just those three cities alone. This equals around 2.88 pedestrian deaths per year per 100,000 residents.
What are the factors that play a role in these pedestrian deaths?
• Speed. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speed is a leading factor in pedestrian fatalities. A pedestrian struck at 40 mph has an 80% chance of death, whereas a pedestrian struck at 10-20 mph has only a 10% chance of death.
• Time of Day. The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that approximately 74% of pedestrian fatalities occur at night. Around 26% of pedestrian deaths happen between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. during the week and betweenthe hours of 9 p.m. and midnight during the weekend.
• Distractions. Both distracted drivers and distracted pedestrians—due to electronic devices—is the third leading cause of pedestrian deaths.
• Alcohol. Roughly 15% of pedestrians are struck and killed each year by a drunk driver. Approximately 34% of pedestrians killed are legally drunk themselves.
• Age. Especially in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, where more than half a million seniors reside, pedestrians 65 years of age and older are at a much higher risk of being struck and killed.
• Poverty and Infrastructure. According to Smart Growth American, areas with higher poverty levels also have a higher percentage of pedestrians as a result of fewer vehicle owners. Similarly, areas with higher poverty levels also have poorer pedestrian infrastructure, increasing the injury and death rates for pedestrians.
Pedestrian injuries and fatalities can happen at any time and anywhere. If your injuries were a result of someone else’s negligence, you should speak with an attorney about the possibility of seeking compensation for your injuries.