There is new evidence that traffic deaths among pedestrians have reached epidemic proportions.
Our injury lawyers in Fort Myers and Cape Coral have continued to highlight the risks in Florida, which is the deadliest state in the nation for these preventable tragedies. While the overall number of road fatalities was declining steadily before the pandemic, many areas, including Southwest Florida, have continued to see an increase in fatalities among walkers and riders.
Now a new report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows the number of pedestrians killed increased 53 percent from 2009-2018, after steadily declining for three decades. Today, 1 in 6 fatal accidents involves a walker.
And the issue seems to be unique to the United States, which experienced the largest percentage increase among 30 countries.
Walkers at Historically High Risk
Some of the risks are well known – including higher speeds, larger vehicles and inadequate infrastructure. But researchers noted those risks have been longstanding and do not explain the drastic increase reported over the past decade.
However, it was noted that the entirety of the increase occurred in urban areas, where more than 2,000 additional walkers were killed during the study period. Rural areas saw a decrease of one death during the same timeframe.
Additionally, there is evidence that increased safety at intersections had a positive impact. Non-intersection deaths increased by more than 1,800, while those occurring at intersections increased by 29. Still, researchers noted improved street lighting continues to lag, with those killed in darkness increasing by more than 1,900.
All of the noted increase involved adult walkers.
Walking Safety in SWFL
Our personal injury lawyers in Fort Myers and Cape Coral have noted the high risks faced by walkers in Southwest Florida in recent years.
Smart Growth America has ranked Cape Coral the deadliest area in the nation for walkers in recent studies. However, the latest report shows Cape Coral-Fort Myers falling the 11th deadliest. Still, 3 of the top 5 and and 7 of the top 10 deadliest cities in America for walkers are located in Florida.
The statistic reveal a number of ways walkers can be proactive when it comes to their own safety:
- Try not to walk after dark. The majority of walkers who are killed are struck after sundown. If you must walk after dark, wear light colored clothing and walk facing traffic.
- Plan your route. Try to walk where sidewalks, crosswalks, crossing lights, and other infrastructure improve safety.
- Cross at marked crosswalks and intersections, not in the middle of a block.
- Yield the right of way. Yes, walkers in most cases have the right of way. But that will be little consolation if you are struck by a motor vehicle.
- Do not walk while intoxicated. Take a cab or a ride-sharing service. While you should never drink and drive, walking after consuming alcohol can also be deadly, with more than half of all walking deaths in some areas reportedly involving a pedestrian who had been drinking.
Motorists should always pay attention and give walkers the right of way. Taking a few extra seconds can go a long way toward preventing a tragedy for which you will most likely be found responsible.
If you or a loved one is injured, call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.