That’s the news from the latest Dangerous by Design 2016 report, released this month. Nearly 47,000 people lost their lives after they were struck by a car while walking in the U.S. between 2005 and 2014. In looking at just 2014 (which is the latest year for which numbers are available), nearly 4,900 people died, which breaks down to about 13 people every single day. Americans are 7.2 times more likely to be killed in a pedestrian accident than they are to die in a natural disaster – and the risk is much higher in Florida.
Florida nabbed 8 of the top 10 most dangerous metro areas for walking, based on pedestrian danger index (or PDI, which factors in the number of commuters versus how many pedestrian fatalities were counted). Miami-Dade/ Fort Lauderdale/ West Palm Beach ranked No. 11 – out of 105 of the largest metro areas in the country. Here, we had a PDI of 145.1, which was nearly triple the national average. Other Florida regions that ranked high:
- No. 1 – Cape Coral/ Fort Myers – PDI 283.1
- No. 2 – Palm Bay/ Melbourne – PDI 235.2
- No. 3 – Orlando – PDI 234.7
- No. 4 – Jacksonville – PDI 228.7
- No. 5 – Daytona Beach – PDI 228.2
- No. 6 – Lakeland/ Winter Haven – PDI 200.6
- No. 10 – North Port/ Sarasota – 148.2
The other two metro areas in the top 10 were Jackson, MS and Memphis, TN, ranking at No. 8 and No. 9, respectively.
Our Miami pedestrian accident attorneys understand that these type of cases can be devastating and difficult. For one thing, a pedestrian’s injuries are more likely to be very serious than someone who was in a fender-bender. Pedestrians don’t have the protection of seat belts, airbags, windows or a mass of metal encasing their bodies. Beyond that, if a pedestrian does not have their own auto insurance coverage (which can provide damages for uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage in the event of a hit-and-run or underinsured driver), it can be difficult to recover damages. It’s worth it to talk to an experienced lawyer because you may have only a narrow window of opportunity in which to file a claim – and you’ll need to make sure you do it right.
Sadly, minorities and older adults (over 65) were over-represented as pedestrian accident victims, and the PDI is strongly correlated with the median household income and rates of uninsured individuals. Essentially what this means is that people who can least afford to get injured in a pedestrian accident are those most likely to suffer it.
Of course, drivers are a significant part of this problem. We have a growing number of motorists who are increasingly distracted, typically by smartphone apps and communications. They speed, they drive drunk and they aren’t careful. But beyond that, we have roads that are not designed with pedestrians or bicyclists in mind. We have wide lanes and fast-moving cars and not enough infrastructure to make it safe for pedestrians to traverse our communities. There are some efforts underway to address that, most notably the Complete Streets initiative, which is active here in Florida. These efforts are going to be increasingly more important as our population ages and we become increasingly more diverse, both economically and racially.
If you have been a victim of a traffic accident, call Chalik & Chalik at (954) 476-1000 or 1 (800) 873-9040.
Walking In America Remains Dangerous — Especially In Florida, Jan. 10, 2016, By Laurel Wamsley, NPR
More Blog Entries:
States Slow Efforts to Block Driving Privileges for Elderly, Jan. 10, 2016, Miami Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Blog