The number of pedestrian accidents in Florida has reached epidemic proportion. Pedestrian accidents in Fort Myers and Cape Coral are tragically common occurrences. Inattentive motorists, lack of sidewalks, inadequate lighting, and missing street signs and crosswalks are just a few of the common causes.
Our Fort Myers personal injury attorneys were not surprised to learn that Florida posted the greatest increase in pedestrian accidents of any state in the nation last year, according to a new study released by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association.
Just four states — Florida, California, Texas and New York — account for 41 percent of the nation’s pedestrian accidents. Despite an overall decline in traffic fatalities reported nationwide, the total number of fatal pedestrian accidents increased during the first six months of 2010, to 1,891 from the 1,884 deaths recorded during the same period of 2009.
Florida led the nation with an increase of 36 deaths, followed by Arizona (up 21), Oregon (up 18), North Carolina (up 17) and Oklahoma (up 16). The GHSA reports 243 deaths were reported in Florida during the first six months of 2010, more than anywhere in the nation except California (260).
A total of 466 pedestrian deaths were reported in Florida in 2009. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 490 Florida pedestrian fatalities occurred in 2008. Authorities are concerned about even a slight increase after years of decline.
“Nationally, pedestrian fatalities account for about 12 percent of overall traffic deaths, a small but significant portion. Given that we have made so much progress in this area, GHSA is concerned to see this reversal. One factor may be the increased distractions for both pedestrians and drivers,” said GHSA Chairman Vernon Betkey. “Anyone who travels in a busy city has seen countless pedestrians engrossed in conversation or listening to music while crossing a busy street. Just as drivers need to focus on driving safely, pedestrians need to focus on walking safely – without distractions.”
Twenty eight states reported a decline in pedestrian accidents, while 18 other reported an increase. Florida was among 8 states that reported a double-digit increase.
Safety advocates say improving pedestrian safety starts at the local level and includes prioritization, data analysis, engineering, education and laws and enforcement. Population is also a key determining factor. The four states with the highest population, including Florida, accounted for nearly half of all pedestrian deaths. Meanwhile, 25 other states accounted for just 12 percent of fatalities.
Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, is a law firm dedicated to representing accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout South Florida, including Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples, Port Charlotte and Sebring. Call for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. 1-800-283-2900.