Late last month, our Miami car accident attorneys discussed another unfortunate accident in which thirty-six year-old woman Keythe Perez was struck and killed by a vehicle while crossing Palm Beach Boulevard in Fort Myers, Florida. The incident marked the sixth pedestrian killed in Lee County since the beginning of the year, and the fifth in a little more than a month.
In response to the growing number of traffic accidents involving pedestrians, Smart Growth America, a national organization dedicated to researching ways in which to improve America’s neighborhoods, commissioned a study, entitled “Dangerous by Design,” to look at where pedestrian fatalities happen and who’s most at risk in every U.S. county, metro area, and state.
According to the report, in the decade from 2003 through 2012, 47,025 people died while walking on our streets, representing 12.3 percent of total traffic deaths. During the same period, 676,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic accidents, or one every approximately eight minutes.
Regionally, the study found that Sunbelt communities topped the list of most dangerous regions because they have developed rapidly, with many low-density neighborhoods that are overly dependent on extra wide, fast roadways to connect homes, schools, jobs and shops. Because such roads tend not to have facilities needed for safe pedestrian travel, such as sidewalks, they pose a greater risk of injury to pedestrians.
In Florida, 5,189 people were killed while walking between 2003 and 2012, representing 17.7% of the 29,302 traffic-related fatalities in the state during this period. 63.3% of pedestrians were killed on arterial roads, which are designed and operated to maximize traffic, with little or no consideration for pedestrian safety and comfort.
In order to compare the relative safety of walking in various locations, the report developed a measurement called the Pedestrian Danger Index (“PDI”) to give an indication of the likelihood of a person on foot being hit by a vehicle and killed. The PDI was based on the share of local commuters who walk to work and the most recent five years of data on pedestrian fatalities.
Florida’s overall PDI was calculated at 168.65, placing it first nationally. Metro Orlando topped the list of most dangerous areas to walk in 2014, followed closely by Tampa–St. Petersburg, Jacksonville, and Miami. The Orlando region had a PDI for 2003–2012 of 244.28, four times higher than the national PDI of 52.2. From 2003 to 2010, pedestrian fatalities include 233 children under 16 and 960 adults aged 65 or older.
With ever-increasing traffic congestion and the tendency of Florida residents to ride bicycles or walk where they need to go, bicyclists and pedestrians are at greater risk than ever for being injured or killed in a traffic accident. If you, your family or friends have been involved an accident in which you sustained injuries, you may need legal representation to protect your right to compensation.
The Miami accident attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. have extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured by motor vehicles. If you or someone you know has been injured in accident, contact the Miami accident lawyers of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today.