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Florida Named Most Deadly State for Pedestrians


We all know that one of the most common personal injury cases are due to motor vehicle accidents. But according to a new report, you take your life in your hands when you’re on foot in Florida, which was recently named the deadliest state in the U.S. for pedestrians. The report explains that “We continue to design and operate streets that prioritize the speedy movement of vehicles at the expense of safety for all people who use them. Many states and localities have spent the last 10 years focusing on enforcement, running ineffectual education campaigns, or blaming the victims of these crashes, while often ignoring the role of roadway design in these deaths. Meanwhile the death count has continued to climb year after year.”

The report emphasized that fatality rates are disproportionately high for the elderly, Blacks, American Indian or Alaska Native people, and people walking in low-income communities. Black people were killed by drivers at a rate 82% higher than white people while people walking in poor neighborhoods were twice as likely to die as people in affluent neighborhoods.

Compared to the skyrocketing fatality rate for pedestrians, traffic fatality rates for motor vehicle occupants have only increased 3.7% following a decline between 2008 and 2017. One reason it has become more dangerous to be a pedestrian is the growing popularity and size of SUVs and pickup trucks, which are two to three times more likely to kill a pedestrian in a crash than a sedan, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report.

In Florida, which was built for speed, there were 5,893 pedestrian deaths in the 10-year span, which is an annual average of 2.8 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people, or a Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) calculated in the report as 201.4. Compare that to the national figures of 1.6 average annual deaths per 100,000 and a 63.3 PDI. Compare Florida’s PDI to that of Texas (125.3), California (77.3), Ohio (44.1), New York (25.1) and the safest state, Vermont (15.2).

In Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, 1,675 pedestrians were hit and killed during the period for a PDI of 171.9.

Walking can be hazardous to your health in the Sunshine State, which retained its notorious No. 1 ranking as the place where a pedestrian is most likely to be struck and killed by a driver in the United States, according to yesterday’s 2021 “Dangerous By Design” report from Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition.

  • Nine of the 15 most hazardous U.S. cities for pedestrians are in fact in Florida, with Orlando ranked as least safe and the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metropolis ranked No. 13 in the biennial study released Tuesday.
  • Drivers hit and killed 53,435 pedestrians, more than 17 people per day on average, throughout the country between 2010 and 2019.
  • The number of people killed while walking has been on a steady rise each year, growing by 45% over the most recent decade for which data was available for analysis.
  • While the report covers 2010-2019 data, preliminary data on 2020 and the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic indicate that speeding increased dramatically in conjunction with a decrease in cars on the road and congestion. Although the U.S. Department of Transportation will not release 2020 fatality data until the end of 2021 at the earliest, the National Safety Council is already estimating a 24% spike in all traffic fatality rates in 2020 — the biggest increase in 96 years.
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