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Broward Pedestrian Accidents a Serious, Ongoing Safety Threat

Recently in Weston, a hit-and-run driver struck a pedestrian on U.S. 27, causing the adult male victim to suffer serious injuries. He was rushed to the hospital for treatment.

Authorities are looking for the driver, but our pedestrian accident attorneys in Broward know that many times in these situations, when the driver is never caught, victims must turn to their own insurance company for help. We are experienced in handling claims involving uninsured (or unidentified) and underinsured drivers.

Nationwide, pedestrian deaths have seen a dramatic increase of 15 percent between 2009 and 2012, even as the instance of all other motor vehicle fatalities declined by 3 percent. The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that based on preliminary data for the first six months of 2013 in all 50 states plus D.C., there were 1,985 pedestrian fatalities. That’s a marked decrease from the 2,175 that was reported in the first six months of 2012;. Whether those figures continued to bear out for the rest of the year remains to be seen, as more recent statistics are not yet available.

In 2012, Florida reported 476 pedestrian deaths, which accounted for 20 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities. That’s a huge figure when considering that pedestrian accidents account for a significantly fewer portion of overall traffic collisions.

Fortunately, it appears we are continuing on the same downward trend that has been reported nationally. While there were 234 pedestrian fatalities reported in Florida in the first six months of 2012, there were 179 in the first six months of 2013. That’s a decrease of 55, or a 23.5 percent drop. Again, those figures are just preliminary, so we don’t yet know if that decline continued through the rest of the year.

But Florida continues to be one of the most dangerous states in the country for pedestrians. Based on the preliminary figures from the first half of 2013, it was the third-most dangerous in the country, just behind Texas and California. It’s worth noting, however, that both of those states have far higher populations, and not all that many more recorded pedestrian fatalities.

Pedestrians are perhaps the most vulnerable user on the road. Those traveling by foot have little or no protection when struck by a vehicle. Even bicyclists may have the benefit of wearing a helmet. For a pedestrian, there is nothing between his or her body, a fast-moving, three-ton mass of metal and the pavement.

Still, walking and biking as exercise and a means of transport are highly encouraged for both health and environmental reasons. Physical activity helps to combat the scourge of obesity, while any reduction in greenhouse gases is good for the planet.

But pedestrians need to walk defensively, particularly in areas that have yet to adopt a “Complete Streets” model of urban design that incorporates the needs and safety of travelers aside from just those in motor vehicles.

The University of North Carolina’s Highway Safety Research Center advises the following steps for defensive walking:
–At crossings, anticipate that a driver might run a red light. Look around before stepping into the road, even after you are given the walk signal.
–Check for cars before stepping out on the curb.
–If possible, pick a route that doesn’t involve walking behind cars. If you must, however, look for brake lights, listen for engine noises and be on alert for other cues that a car is about to back up. Take extra care as you walk past driveways.
–Make eye contact with approaching drivers. Nod or wave if appropriate. Dress in bright or reflective clothing and if you’re walking at night, carry a flashlight.

Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:
Hit-and-run driver injures pedestrian, April 6, 2014, By Robert Nolin, Sun Sentinel

More Blog Entries:
Hollywood Car Accident Lawyers Prepared to Battle Insurance Companies, Feb. 28, 2014, Broward Pedestrian Accident Attorney Blog

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