The Governors Highway Safety Association has terrible news—pedestrian deaths have risen to their highest numbers in almost 30 years. According to NPR, the number of pedestrians who died in traffic accidents reached 6,227 in 2018. Even worse, many of the deaths occurred right here at home in Miami.
Florida Is Near the Head of the Pack
According to the report, five states account for almost 50% of pedestrian fatalities in 2018. They were Texas, Arizona, California, Georgia, and Florida.
It is unsurprising that Florida is a leader. For one thing, our nice weather year-round encourages people to walk outside. The other four states also have mild winters. In colder parts of the country, conversely, people will get into cars to travel even short distances.
But Florida has other problems, including a complete lack of interest in pedestrian safety. Our communities are designed for cars, not people out walking. Many streets lack crosswalks at every intersection. Research cited by NPR has shown that the average person will walk only 300 feet to get to the nearest crosswalk. If none is nearby, they will jaywalk, which is risky.
Without crosswalks and sidewalks, pedestrians are exposed to traffic and at a greater risk of being hit. Unfortunately, few communities want to pay to install sidewalks or redesign their roads.
SUV and Cell Phones are Also Problems
Other problems fueling the record number of pedestrian deaths include heavier vehicles on the road and smartphones.
If a person is hit by an SUV or light truck, they are more likely to suffer fatal injuries than if they were hit by a passenger sedan. With more heavy vehicles on the road, the number of deaths has naturally increased.
Smartphones are also a problem. Cell data usage has increased a whopping 4,000% in the past 10 years. This means that many drivers are looking at a phone and not at the road when the vehicle is in motion. Pedestrians also compound the problem by looking at their phones as they walk.
Can Florida Respond?
Our state is considering adopting a distracted driving law that will allow police to stop you for using a cell phone or even petting an animal. Some New England states that passed these types of laws saw a dramatic drop in fatalities—around 36%. Until then, pedestrians must exercise extreme caution on the road.
Have You Been Injured in a Miami Pedestrian Accident?
Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum is a leading law firm that has represented the rights of injured pedestrians. If you have been involved in an accident, please call us today at 305-371-2692. We offer a free consultation with one of our lawyers.