A recent report by Dangerous by Design, detailed the alarming numbers of people who die each year just while walking across the street. The worst state in the nation for pedestrian accidents in Florida. Many Florida regions topped the top 10 list. Tampa St. Petersburg and Clearwater region ranked 9th worst in the country.
According to the report, nearly 50,000 (49,340 to be precise) were killed nationwide between 2008 and 2017. That averages out to 13 pedestrian accident fatalities for each day. Or, one person every 106 minutes.
Why so many pedestrian accidents happen
Pedestrians have no protection if they are struck by a car, truck, motorcycle, or any sized vehicle. Cars and trucks protect passengers by having hoods, trunks, and sides of cars built out of metal and steel. Motorcycle riders should have the protection of wearing a motorcycle helmet. Passengers are completely vulnerable to being struck and dying.
The Dangerous by Design data first examined traffic fatalities by using data collected from a national database of deadly traffic accidents – called the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). The report then ranked the worst states and the worst metropolitan areas by used a metric called – the Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI). The PDI index thus calculates the number of people killed by drivers while they were walking. It did this by looking at the population size for that state and that metro region and the percentage of residents who walk to work along with the number of deaths.
Disturbing pedestrian accident trends
No community was immune. Having said that, the data showed that the southern continental US had some of the worst PDI statistics. Older people, people in low-income communities, and people of color had high PDI rates.
The statistics also showed that the rate of pedestrian deaths is increasing as the years go by. The two worst years were 2016 and 2017. In 2016, there were 6,080 pedestrian deaths. There were 5,977 pedestrian deaths in 2017.
Some of the reasons pedestrian accidents are getting worse
There are many contributing factors. While people aren’t walking much more than in 2018, the rising numbers of pedestrian accident deaths are alarming. The number of miles drivers drove increased by 8.1 percent. Some of the reasons include the continuing strategy to build roads for speed rather than for safety. State and federal policies to protect pedestrians need to improve.
Statistically, during the same 10 year period: the rate of accidents involving vehicle passengers who were killed declined more than six percent.
Some of the worst metropolitan regions during the 10-year time frame 2008-2017 were:
First, worst is Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida. 656 pedestrian deaths. PDI index - 313.3
Second, worst is Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormand Beach, Florida. 212 pedestrian deaths. PDI index - 265.4
The third worst is Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Florida. 165 pedestrian deaths. PDI index – 245.0
The fourth worst is North Port-Sarasota-Bordenton, Florida. 194 pedestrian deaths. PDI index -2345.6
Then, Lakeland-Winter Haven, Florida. 162 pedestrian deaths. PDI index- 230.9
Then, Jacksonville, Florida. 419 pedestrian deaths. PDI index – 226.2
And ninth-worst is Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater. 900 pedestrian deaths. PDI index – 204.7.
Other deadly regions for pedestrian deaths included Bakersfield, California; Jackson, Mississippi' Memphis, Tennessee; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The worst states for pedestrian accidents
The 10 worst states for pedestrian accidents are:
Florida was the worst with 5,433 pedestrian fatalities during the 10-year report period
The second is Alabama. The third is Delaware. Fourth is Louisiana. The fifth is Mississippi. Then, Georgia is the sixth-worst state. Then, New Mexico. After that comes Texas. Then Arizona. Then the last state in the top 10 is South Carolina.
The Dangerous by Design report recommends the following:
- Much better planning and design by the Departments of Transportation for each state
- Better design by the Metropolitan Planning Organizations for each metro area. Strong planning should focus on protecting pedestrians, the most vulnerable roadway occupants
- Adoption of a “complete streets policy” for each of the 1,400 metro communities.
Which pedestrians are most at risk of being killed in a pedestrian accident
The report data showed that some of the people most likely to be struck and killed in a pedestrian crash include:
- People over 50-years-of-age
- African-Americans, American Indians, and Alaska Native people
- People with lower median household incomes
People 75-years-of-age and older are the most at risk. This is due to their difficulties with vision, hearing, and also with being able to move.
Deaths in lower-income regions tend to occur because these communities have fewer sidewalks, fewer marked crosswalks, and poorer street designs.
Who is responsible for pedestrian accidents?
In most cases, the driver of the vehicle is responsible for a pedestrian accident death. Passengers are generally presumed to have the right of way when crossing a street.
Drivers often creep past the marked lines to position themselves for when the light turns. This move can easily cause a driver to strike a pedestrian.
Drivers, especially in residential communities, need to be on the lookout for pedestrians
Local governments may also be responsible for poor designs. Too many roadways have wide lanes that encourage speeding – a major factor in pedestrian deaths.
When a pedestrian death happens, the family after a proper mourning period should then consult with an experienced Florida wrongful death lawyer.
Damages when pedestrian accidents happen
When a pedestrian is tragically killed by a negligent driver, the family of the pedestrian has the right to file a wrongful death action against the driver. They also can then bring a claim against the owners of the vehicle. Damages then typically include:
- First, the funeral and burial expenses
- Then, any pain and suffering of the pedestrian
- And, the financial losses due to the premature death of the pedestrian
- And, the loss of the comfort, society, and companionship – the pedestrian would have given the family members