For Pedestrian Deaths, Florida is #1
Unfortunately, in this case it’s for something that isn’t good for Floridians.
Across the country, pedestrian deaths are at an all-time high. And according to the Dangerous by Design report— released by Smart Growth America, a D.C.-based organization that advocates for walkable cities—Florida has the worst rate of pedestrian fatalities out of the 50 states.
Across the country, U.S. pedestrian deaths totaled nearly 6,000 in 2017, according to the new Governors Highway Safety Association report (GHSA) — 5,984 pedestrians killed in the U.S. in 2017 to be exact. And with this being the second year in a row for such high fatalities, evidence is growing that the culprit is the fatal collision of walkers and drivers being dangerously distracted.
It’s a relatively new worry: texting while walking.
Of course, the phrase ‘texting’ is shortcut language for any activity on a smart phone that distracts a driver—or walker—from their environment.
“It’s downright disturbing,” said Richard Retting, who helmed the report for the GHSA. “People outside cars are dying at levels we haven’t seen in 25 years.”
Considering all the improvements in vehicle safety—automatic braking systems, rear-view cameras, collision-alert technology and the like—this could be surprising. But one safety improvement isn’t keeping up: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety cites poor headlight design—design that doesn’t swivel to meet road curvature—as a potential reason. Retting noted that 75% of pedestrian fatalities happen at night—so road illumination is critical.
But pedestrians have to take responsibility too. And cities across the country are beginning to agree with this notion:
- The city of Montclair, California recently banned walking across the street while using a phone.
- Honolulu’s ‘smartphone zombie’ law authorizes fines for pedestrians up to $35 if they are cited for walking while using their phone, as reported by the New York Times.
For more on Hawaii’s law, click the video below:
Source: ABC News
But distracted walking laws aren’t widespread yet. And there are almost certainly other factors.
Marijuana use is on the rise in states where the drug has become legalized. And in those seven states—and the District of Columbia– pedestrian deaths rose 16.4% in the first half of 2017 (according to the same GHSA study) while deaths in other states fell -5.8% in the same time period.
The takeaway is that it is a dangerous time to be a pedestrian in America, and also a time where drivers must be more careful than ever. An accident can happen in just a moment—but the injuries created can affect lifetimes.
Have you or someone you love been injured as a pedestrian?
Call Thomas & Pearly immediately if you or a loved one was:
- Hurt while crossing an intersection in Florida
- Injured as a pedestrian at night
- Suffered injury as a pedestrian in an accident with a vehicle
- Involved in an accident in which a driver may have been driving while distracted
- Killed while walking in Florida by a motor vehicle
The attorneys at Thomas and Pearl can evaluate your case and explain options available to you to pursue compensation for the injuries suffered.
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Ask about our experience as attorneys helping victims of injuries.
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Contact Thomas & Pearl at any time.