A new report titled Dangerous by Design 2014 lists southern Florida as the fourth most deadly area in the nation for pedestrian accidents. Compiled by Smart Growth America and National Complete Streets Coalition, the report gives Florida overall a pedestrian danger index of 145.33. The national average is 52.2.

A recent article in the Sun-Sentinel reported that in Broward, one person on a bike and two pedestrians are hit by cars on a daily basis. Finding news accounts of pedestrian accidents is not difficult. One recent accident recounted in the Palm Beach Post happened in Lantana. It resulted in the pedestrian victim being sent by flight to Delray Medical Center for treatment of her injuries.

Serious consequences are real

Because pedestrians lack natural protection that motorists have, their risk of serious injury or even wrongful death when hit by vehicles is great. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a pedestrian is one and a half times more likely to die than a motorist when involved in an automobile crash.

The CDC also reports that one pedestrian on average dies every other hour in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 4,400 pedestrians died in 2011 from an estimated 16,000 total pedestrian accidents.

Statistics for the year 2012 from the NHTSA show the following:

  • In all of Florida, 2,424 people died in automotive accidents.
  • Of those, 476 or over 19 percent were pedestrians.
  • In Palm Beach County, more than 18 percent of vehicular fatalities were pedestrians.
  • Only six counties in Florida had more pedestrian deaths than Palm Beach County.

Broward and Miami-Dade Counties each lost 58 pedestrians and Orange County lost 40. Hillsborough, Duval and Pinellas Counties were the locations 32, 29 and 26 fatalities respectively. In Palm Beach County, 25 pedestrians lost their lives on area roads.

Why is Florida so dangerous for pedestrians?

The high rate of elderly residents in Florida likely contributes to the high percentage of pedestrian accidents and deaths. The CDC indicates that pedestrians between five and 10 years old and 65 or older have a higher chance of being involved in pedestrian accidents than people of other ages.

What should victims do?

Anyone who is involved in a pedestrian accident should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Even if an accident appears minor at the time, injuries or complications can develop. Motorists have a responsibility to drive safely to protect the rights of all persons, including pedestrians. Working with a lawyer can give victims a chance to receive appropriate compensation for their injuries. Anyone who is involved in a pedestrian accident should contact the attorneys at Silver & Silver as soon as possible.

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