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GHSA: U.S. Pedestrian Accident Deaths Up 25 Percent

A 15-year-old Timber Creek High School student was killed in a hit-and-run pedestrian accident after he was struck by a motorcyclist who fled the scene near Avalon Park Boulevard and Pellicer Drive in east Orange County. The teen was reportedly skateboarding in the street with friends when the motorcyclist, later identified as a 35-year-old man who was allegedly drunk at the time of the crash and fled on foot. The Orlando Sentinel reports police found him hiding in a nearby backyard and arrested him.

Pedestrian accidents are an all-too-common problem in Orlando and throughout Florida, resulting in hundreds of deaths and thousands of serious injuries every year. According to a new analysis from the Governors Highway Safety Association, it’s getting worse – both in the Sunshine State and across the nation.

The GHSA’s Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State, using 2016 preliminary data, reveals a 25 percent increase in pedestrian accident fatalities in the U.S. between 2010 and 2015. Early figures from 2016 show the number of pedestrians killed in 2016 increased by 11 percent, as compared with those who died in 2015 crashes. That is the largest yearly increase in both the number and percentage of pedestrian accident deaths in four decades – since national records have been kept. 

Further, pedestrian deaths as a total percentage of motor vehicle accident deaths have risen at a steady clip. Pedestrians comprised 11 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2006, and now make up 15 percent as of 2015.

Just looking at data gleaned from states in the first six months of 2016, it’s believed 6,000 pedestrians accident deaths occurred last year. If those figures prove true, it would be the first year in more than two decades there were that many pedestrians victims.

Five states, including Florida, reported more than 100 pedestrians deaths in the first six months of last year, and five states, Florida among them, accounted for 42 percent of all pedestrian deaths nationally.

From January through July 2015, there were 277 pedestrian accident deaths. Now fast-forward to 2016 and compare that to the same time frame, when there were 301 pedestrian accident fatalities. That’s an increase of 8.7 percent. It’s not the biggest increase, but Florida has long been considered an extremely dangerous place for people to walk. It had the third-highest number of pedestrian fatalities last year, but the two states with more – California and Texas – are much larger in terms of population.

When we factor in population and calculate the pedestrian fatality rate, Florida comes in at No. 2, with a rate of 1.46 per 100,000 people. That is second only to Delaware, which had a pedestrian fatality rate of 1.89. Consider, however, that the total number of pedestrians killed in Delaware in the first half of last year was 18, compared to Florida’s 301.

The bottom line is that while the risk to pedestrians is substantial – and growing – nationally, it is dire in Florida. The GHSA did note a number of steps the state is taking to mitigate the problem, including:

  • Many communities adopting a Complete Streets model of traffic engineering and transportation design, which takes into account the safety and accessibility of all road users, not just those in cars;
  • Creating high visibility crosswalks, pedestrian countdown signals, reducing speed limits and improving lighting at intersections;
  • State emergency responders are receiving increased training on the most common pedestrian accident injuries so they are prepared when they arrive on scene to provide the appropriate level of care.

If you have been injured or a loved one killed in an Orlando pedestrian accident, our experienced injury attorneys can help you navigate the legal system and explore your options for compensation.

Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.

Additional Resources:

Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State, March 2017, GHSA

More Blog Entries:

Employers Urged to Crack Down on Driver Distraction, April 24, 2017, Orlando Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Blog

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