Florida Leads the Nation in Pedestrian Deaths
The National Complete Streets Coalition and Smart Growth America recently released a study that has raised more than a few eyebrows of Florida state officials. The study, entitled “Dangerous by Design,” called attention to the fact that pedestrian fatalities are increasing at a rather alarming rate, and the state of Florida leads the nation when it comes to pedestrian deaths.
Florida’s lead in this department is not particularly close, either. The study ranked 104 of the largest metropolitan areas through what they called a “Pedestrian Danger Index” (PDI), a number calculated using the share of local commuters who walk to work and the most recent data on pedestrian deaths. Florida led the entire United States with a 2016 PDI of 177.0. That’s a far cry from even the second-most dangerous state, Alabama, finished with an average PDI of 136.6, and even further from the nation’s safest state, Vermont, which boasts a dazzling 11.4.
It’s not just one particularly bad city dragging the rest down either; Florida cities occupy the top seven spots on the entire 104-area PDI list, with the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area taking the title of world’s most dangerous pedestrian city with a PDI of 283.1. The remaining six are:
- Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville (235.2)
- Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (324.7)
- Jacksonville (228.7)
- Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach (228.2)
- Lakeland-Winter Haven (200.6)
- Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (192.0)
The national outlook has not been particularly bright, either. Since the year 2009, when deaths hit their lowest levels in some time, the number of deaths has increased every year except for 2013, when it dropped slightly. According to the most recent numbers, an average of 13 pedestrians per day were killed in the United States in the year 2014. Between the years 2005 and 2014, you were 7.2 times more likely to die from a pedestrian accident than you were from a natural disaster.
How to Make Roads Safer
While the news for pedestrians may look grim, the study argues that strict speed limits can help reduce the number of deaths in these areas. “Policy, design, enforcement, and culture all contribute to these dangerously high speeds,” the study says. “Road designs meant for highways—such as wide, straight lanes—can be dangerous when applied to the streets that go through communities and are lined with homes, shops, schools and offices.”
It’s easy to look around and notice that roads in many places are getting bigger. With more drivers on the streets, the calls for roads with higher capacity and better traffic flow have been heard and acted upon to help residents live life in the fast lane and get where they need to go quicker and with less frustration. However, because these roads are often given a speed limit close to how fast people tend to go down them anyway, the result is a large, high-speed road with immense danger to pedestrians.
The survey writes: “Setting a vision for safer streets allows transportation agency staff to find appropriate design solutions, regardless of prevailing speed. They can design and redesign streets to include features to encourage safer—and slower—driving speeds.” The survey also lists creating additional barriers to protect pedestrians, such as landscaped buffers and more frequent pedestrian crosswalks, as ways to help cut down on the numbers of annual pedestrian deaths. As roads grow, it would not be surprising to see a number of these strategies utilized.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, the experienced attorneys at Schlesinger Law Offices, P.A. may be able to assist you. We have earned a reputation as one of the most trusted and successful Fort Lauderdale personal injury law firms, and we are proud of our tradition of excellence in practice and client service that spans more than 60 years. Since opening our doors in 1955, we have secured millions of dollars in compensation for our clients who have suffered a tremendous loss as a result of an injury.
If you think you may have a case, speak with an attorney from Schlesinger Law Offices, P.A. today by calling (954) 467-8800 for a free consultation!