Pedestrian deaths in Central Florida are rising at an alarming pace. The Orlando Sentinel recently reported there have been two dozen people killed in Orange, Osceola, Lake and Seminole counties just so far this year.
That’s six more than compared to this same time last year, when there were 18 – a 33 percent increase.
This is seemingly a troubling continuation of a trend reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), wherein the number of pedestrians killed in traffic crashes rose 9.5 percent from 2014 to 2015, reaching 5,376 that year. This figure, the most recent for national statistics, is the highest its been in two decades.
On average, a pedestrian was injured every 7.5 minutes and another killed ever 1.6 hours as a result of a careless or reckless driver.
About one-fifth of these incidents were children under 14, and a significant percentage happened during evening rush hour, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Orange County in particular has for some time been recognized as one of the most dangerous places for pedestrians in the country. In fact, 15 of the 24 deaths recorded so far this year in the region have been in Orange County. Troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) said this largely indicative of the fact so many tourists and locals do a great deal of walking to get to and from various public transportation hubs.
In many of these situations, the pedestrians are not traveling in large groups, and they may be wearing clothing that is tough to see at night. However, this does not excuse drivers from liability in many circumstances. Although troopers said some pedestrians may not have been using common sense, we do know a large portion of these cases involve drivers who are:
- Simply careless
Just last month, a driver on the turnpike through Orlando dropped her cell phone out the window while on the expressway. She stopped to get it, stepped out of the vehicle and was struck by another car. That driver did not stop. The victim was killed.
In another case in January, a taxi driver noticed a man in a broken down car on State Road 528 and stopped to help. This turned out to be a deadly mistake, as a 26-year-old man struck her as she stood on the shoulder examining the vehicle.
The county’s head transportation planner reported the increase in deaths has largely to do with the fact that gas prices have stayed low since the the economic downturn, but the economy has steadily improved. That means more people have money in their pockets, more people are traveling to work and more people are overall in their vehicles.
The county and the University of Central Florida have committed to spending $9 million in improvements to well-traveled roads around the area campus. These improvements include:
- Larger sidewalks;
- Brighter lighting;
- Additional crosswalks.
Similar improvements are happening along Oak Ridge and Pine Hills roads, which have seen high numbers of pedestrian deaths.
FHP recently launched a program called, “Arrive Alive,” which aims to boost law enforcement presence and education in specific regions known to be pedestrian accident hot spots.
Since 2012, police officers and sheriff’s deputies in Orlando have issued 4,000 warnings and 2,000 tickets for failure to yield to pedestrians.
Victims of pedestrian accidents in Orlando should contact an experienced law firm capable of helping them to examine all their potential legal options.
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.
Pedestrian deaths up in Central Florida, March 14, 2017, By David Harris, Orlando Sentinel
More Blog Entries:
NHTSA: Hybrid Vehicles Must Make Noise So They Aren’t Deadly to Pedestrians, March 28, 2017, Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Blog