It is clear that the United States has a pedestrian safety problem. Our infrastructure in Florida and across the country was designed and built with automobiles in mind. If pedestrians were considered at all, they were an afterthought.
The evidence of our pedestrian safety problem is in the statistics. Between 2009 and 2018, pedestrian fatalities rose by 60 percent nationwide, while all other types of traffic deaths rose just 2 percent. At a time when cars and streets are becoming increasingly safe for occupants of vehicles, pedestrians are suffering the consequences like never before.
It is in this spirit that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began a new tradition in 2020. It designated the month of October as Pedestrian Safety Month. Throughout the month, the NHTSA is releasing information on the most urgent issues impacting pedestrian safety, including:
- Decreasing vehicle speeds (to both prevent collisions and make them less lethal)
- Reducing distraction and impairment (for both drivers and pedestrians)
- Drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses
- Increasing pedestrian visibility (making them conspicuous)
- Alerting drivers and pedestrians to the increased accident risks in the week following the end of daylight savings time
Florida a hotspot for pedestrian accidents
Safety advocacy groups annually rank the most dangerous large cities in America for pedestrians (by measuring fatalities per 100,000 residents). Of the top 10 cities consistently identified on these lists, four are in Florida.
Our state clearly has many changes to make if we truly want to make pedestrian safety a priority. But in the meantime, victims of pedestrian accidents need to assert their rights. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured (or worse) in a pedestrian accident caused by a negligent driver, you have the right to pursue full and fair compensation in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. By holding dangerous drivers accountable, you may also be making our streets safer for all other pedestrians.