Why Are Pedestrian Deaths Rising?

Walking is supposed to be good for you. Most of us are aware of the positive health benefits of this low-impact aerobic exercise, from promoting strong heart health to helping manage other issues such as weight, diabetes, and blood pressure. It’s hard to beat a peaceful stroll around the neighborhood in the evening—or a nice walk on the beach or a nature trail. Some of us walk to do short errands on our lunch hour or use our feet and bodies as the fuel to get us to work nearby every day when the weather permits.

Walking is one of the most positive modes of transportation, is free, and has little to no environmental impact. It also fits in with guidelines the Mayo Clinic points to for necessary weekly exercise:

  • 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise
  • 75 minutes of more strenuous aerobics
  • Combination of both

As pedestrian fatality rates rise at an alarming rate in Florida (and other states) though, the health benefits may be in question near high-traffic areas. How can walking be such a deadly endeavor, and why is the problem just increasing? Almost 6,000 pedestrians were killed in the US last year, showing 303 deaths occurring in Florida for the first half of 2017, with seniors and children being the most vulnerable. In line with that data, the top five states for pedestrian deaths are responsible for 43 percent of pedestrian fatalities overall, and include Arizona, California, Texas and New York too.

Recent news shows Florida is serious about instituting stronger safety measures such as more education about the issue, improved training for first responders treating pedestrians, and better illumination in areas where there have been pedestrian accidents—especially since they tend to happen more at night.

“Two consecutive years of 6,000 pedestrian deaths is a red flag for all of us in the traffic safety community. These high levels are no longer a blip but unfortunately a sustained trend,” said Jonathan Adkins, Executive Director of the Governors Highway Safety Association. “We can’t afford to let this be the new normal.”

A strong economy and lower gas prices allow for more cars on the road, but unfortunately, that also leads to more traffic accidents. Distracted drivers may also be to blame for more pedestrian deaths, along with the usual reasons like speeding and reckless driving and operating a vehicle while impaired.

If you are a pedestrian, practice defensive measures more than ever! Avoid electronic distractions and be alert to your surroundings, making eye contact with motorists if you are about to cross the road. Seek well-illuminated areas and make yourself as visible as possible with brightly colored clothing or even a reflective vest if walking in the evening. Follow traffic rules (keeping in mind that intersections tend to be most dangerous) and use crosswalks and sidewalks whenever possible.

Have you or a loved one been injured in a pedestrian accident due to the negligence of others? Call our office for a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys. We handle all types of Florida personal injury cases, and our law firm has established an impressive record of verdicts and settlements. If you have been seriously injured, call us now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.