Pedestrian accidents are some of the most serious collisions involving motor vehicles. That’s because cars, trucks, and other passenger vehicles are much larger than people crossing the street or walking alongside a road. Of course, someone on foot also lacks the protection of an enclosed vehicle with safety features like seatbelts and airbags.
Unfortunately, car vs. pedestrian accidents have become increasingly common nationwide. And while you can get hit by a car pretty much anywhere, Florida was recently ranked as the most dangerous state for pedestrians in the country, according to a study by Smart Growth America.
What percent of accidents involve pedestrians?
Fewer drivers were on the road last year due to pandemic restrictions. Even so, accidents and fatalities involving pedestrians increased nationwide in 2020, part of an ongoing trend since 2000, according to crash data from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).
Last year, motor vehicle accidents caused 6,721 pedestrian deaths, an increase of 131 fatalities or 1.9% compared to 2019. The GHSA also noted that pedestrian fatalities nationwide increased by 46% between 2000 and 2019. During that same time period, all other traffic fatalities only increased by 5% nationwide.
How dangerous is Florida for pedestrians?
According to the Smart Growth America study, the sharp rise in pedestrian fatalities nationwide between 2000 and 2019 was especially noticeable in Florida, where 5,893 pedestrians were killed during that 20-year period. In 2019, the most recent year with statewide statistics, there were 713 pedestrian fatalities in Florida, the most in a single year in the state in at least the past 10 years, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
As a result of such startling statistics, Smart Growth America researchers rated Florida as the most dangerous state for pedestrians, giving The Sunshine State a score of 201.4 on Smart Growth America’s pedestrian danger index. The higher the score, the more dangerous the state. The next highest score was 174.6 for Alabama.
Where do most pedestrian accidents occur?
Urban areas, non-intersection locations, and places without designated crosswalks are the most common sites of fatal pedestrian accidents. Many of these accidents also take place at night, when visibility is low and it's harder to see a person crossing the street or on the side of the road.
Pedestrian accidents can happen for many different reasons, but some of the most common are:
- Distracted driving (especially texting while driving)
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Speeding, in particular, may have played a significant role in the 2020 rise of pedestrian fatalities, according to Beth Osborne, director of Transportation for America at Smart Growth America. That’s because more people were driving faster in 2020 due to less traffic and wide open roads.
"It underscores the nation's persistent failure to prioritize the safety of our roads," Osborne said in an interview with U.S. News & World Report. "When they became emptier, they became more deadly because the design of our roads encourages people to drive quickly. And without congestion, there's nothing to stop it."
4 tips for pedestrians to stay safe
Some measures pedestrians can take to help prevent being hit by a car or truck include:
- Always use a crosswalk when crossing a road and be aware of oncoming traffic when you enter the street.
- Wear reflective or light-colored clothing when walking at night to increase your visibility.
- Make eye contact with the driver before crossing the street.
- Use sidewalks where available instead of walking directly alongside the road. Far too many people are seriously injured or killed while on the side of the road.
Even if you do everything you're supposed to do to avoid being struck by a vehicle, your safety still very much rests in the hands of other drivers. If you're injured in a pedestrian accident by a negligent driver, it’s critical that you speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to learn more about your legal rights and options.
A pedestrian accident attorney can fight for the compensation you need and deserve
You might think you don’t need an attorney to recover compensation for your losses if you were hit by a car and the driver was clearly at fault. But the reality is many cases involving injured pedestrians turn into complicated legal battles with the insurance company. The injuries sustained in pedestrian accidents are often significant, and insurance companies have a financial interest in paying victims as little money as possible—if anything at all.
At the Law Offices of Scott M. Miller, we've been fighting for injured Floridians in the greater Orlando area for years. We understand how the legal system works in Orange County and throughout Central Florida. We know how to investigate accidents and find evidence to build the strongest possible case in pursuit of the best possible results. You can count on us when you need us the most.
Learn more about how we can help you by scheduling a free case evaluation.
Contact us today.