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Legally Speaking

Florida Home to Third-Highest Pedestrian Death Rate in the U.S.

Florida had the third-highest number of pedestrian deaths by state in the United States during the first half of 2020, according to the latest report from the nonprofit Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).

The GHSA found that 2,957 pedestrians were killed in the United States during the first six months of 2020, of which 332 happened in Florida. The states with the highest numbers of pedestrian deaths during the same period were California with 485 and Texas with 335.

The pedestrian death toll in Florida during the first half of 2020 was six more compared to the same time in 2019. While traffic volume decreased beginning in March 2020, the rate of pedestrian deaths increased. Pedestrian deaths per every billion miles of vehicle travel rose from 1.8 in 2019 to 2.2 in 2020 when comparing the first six months of both years.

With fewer cars on the road, people were more likely to drive at higher speeds, a leading factor in pedestrian deaths, according to the authors of the report. The report also found that most pedestrians are killed on local roads, in the dark and away from intersections. It also revealed that nearly half of pedestrian fatalities involved alcohol. Deaths involving larger vehicles, including SUVs and trucks, are increasing rapidly.

How Drivers Can Help Improve Pedestrian Safety

The result of a crash between a car and a pedestrian can be tragic. The findings in this latest report are a good reminder that we must all do our part to make the streets in our communities safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

Following are some ways drivers can help curb pedestrian accidents:

  • Avoid distractions. When your eyes are not on the road, you put yourself and others in danger. Stay focused and do not use your phone when driving. Be aware of other distractions, including changing the radio station or talking to a passenger.
  • Be aware of pedestrians. Always look and look again for pedestrians, especially in areas where they are most likely to be. Take extra precautions when driving in urban areas, near parks or around schools.
  • Give pedestrians the right of way. It is your responsibility as a driver to yield to pedestrians. Drive carefully through high foot traffic areas and always give pedestrians the right of way.
  • Never drive intoxicated. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal and puts everyone on the road at risk. Intoxicated drivers have slower reaction times and lower cognitive abilities, making it more difficult to avoid collisions.
  • Drive the speed limit. Speed limits are there for a reason. Always follow speed limits and use special caution when driving in school zones.
  • Stay aware at night. Most pedestrian fatalities happen after dark. Be especially careful to watch for pedestrians and follow traffic rules at night.
  • Back up carefully. Check your rearview mirror, side mirrors and backup camera for pedestrians before reversing your car. Take extra precautions in driveways and parking lots.

To improve safety on our roads, we need everyone to do their part in making safety a top priority. If you are injured as a pedestrian, please contact our team at Panter, Panter & Sampedro. We have more than 30 years of experience in all areas of personal injury. Call 305.662.6178 today for a free consultation and let us know how we can help you.


Sources: Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State: 2020 Preliminary Data. Retrieved from: ghsa.org/resources/Pedestrians21; Spear, K. (2021, March 26). Florida pedestrian toll sees ‘glimmer of hope,’ but vexing challenges remain, safety groups say. Retrieved from: orlandosentinel.com/news/transportation/os-ne-pedestrian-danger-fdot-denial-20210326-mdhj4nwnnrc67cud2gjaigg5qu-story.html

Mitchell Panter
Author: Mitchell Panter

Mitchell Panter
the authorMitchell Panter

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