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Negligent Security Seminar | March 2015

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Florida Retains Its Ranking as the Deadliest State for Pedestrians

Throughout most of the year, Florida’s sunny skies and pleasant weather draw residents and visitors outdoors. However, while the climate may be conducive to outdoor activity, it’s an unfortunate reality that the state’s roads are not.

According to the recently released 2021 “Dangerous by Design” report from Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition, Florida has retained its notorious ranking as the number-one state in the U.S. where a pedestrian is most likely to be struck and killed by a driver. The report also included the following alarming statistics:

  • Out of the top 15 most dangerous cities in the U.S. for pedestrians, nine are located in Florida. The Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metropolitan area topped the list, with 740 pedestrian fatalities between 2010 and 2019.
  • The number of pedestrians killed nationwide has been steadily rising, increasing by 45% over the most recent decade for which data was available.
  • Pedestrian fatality rates are disproportionately high for the elderly, African-Americans, American Indians, and people walking in low-income neighborhoods.
  • While the report does not include data for 2020, the National Safety Council is already predicting a 24% spike in all traffic fatality rates for the year. While the COVID-19 pandemic reduced the number of cars on the road, incidences of speeding increased dramatically—making roads even less safe for pedestrians.

In seeking to identify the reasons that Florida’s streets are so dangerous for pedestrians, experts have pointed to a variety of factors. For example, like many other Sun Belt states that have experienced explosive growth and urban sprawl over the past several decades, Florida’s main goal has been to avoid traffic congestion and prioritize high speeds for vehicles—sadly, at the expense of safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. As a result, cities are full of wide roads, long blocks, and high speed limits. In contrast, Smart Growth America and the Complete Streets Coalition advocate for development that includes safer streets with slower traffic, more sidewalks and bike lanes, and well-designed intersections.

Pedestrians navigating Florida’s streets should be aware of the hazards, as well as what to do if they or a loved one are ever struck by a vehicle. Here are a few steps to take in this frightening situation:

  • Call 9-1-1 and render emergency first aid immediately. Even if the pedestrian appears to be uninjured, it’s essential that they are evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible. Additionally, ensure that police come to the scene to evaluate the parties involved for impairment or distraction and create an official report of the accident and its apparent causes. If the accident gives rise to a lawsuit, these steps may be crucial to the victim’s case.
  • Document the scene. While it can be difficult to remain calm and think clearly in this situation, any documentation you can gather may be helpful. For example, take pictures and video of the scene, and ask witnesses if they have any dash cam footage of the accident that they’d be willing to share.
  • Do not discuss fault with the other parties involved, or with the driver’s insurance company when you are in contact with them. Even if you believe that the driver was fully to blame, the only parties who should hear your version of events are your attorney, your own insurance company, and medical personnel.
  • Document injuries. In addition to the medical records from doctors and emergency responders, keep track of any symptoms that may appear once you or your loved one are recovering at home.
  • Contact your auto insurance company. Even though you weren’t in your car, your auto insurance policy likely provides coverage as a pedestrian involved in an auto accident. It’s important to understand what your policy covers in the event that you later need to file a medical or disability claim.

In addition to these steps, one of the most important things to do if you or a loved one has been hit by a car is to contact a personal injury attorney. At Leighton Law, we have extensive experience representing pedestrians who have been injured by drivers, and our team can guide you through the complex legal issues that may arise in the wake of this devastating incident. Call us today at 888.988.1774 to schedule a consultation.

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