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U.S. Pedestrian Fatalities Are at a 40-Year High

A street sign in Florida warns pedestrians are present.

In Florida, nearly 900 pedestrians died in 2021

An increase in foot traffic and reckless driving have combined to create a perfect storm for fatal pedestrian accidents in the United States. Nationwide, the number of deadly pedestrian accidents is at a 40-year high and is growing, according to new research. In 2021, about 7,485 pedestrians died in traffic accidents, researchers estimate. That's more than an 11 percent increase over the prior year.

Whether you were hit by a car in a crosswalk or hit by a car while crossing the street, you have the right to seek compensation for all your losses—and a pedestrian accident attorney can help. At The Cerasa Law Firm LLC, we know what it takes to win cases involving pedestrian accidents and would be honored to discuss your legal rights and options during a free case consultation. If you've been injured in a crosswalk accident, contact us today.

Florida pedestrian accidents

Part of the reason for the spike in pedestrian fatalities is that there is no such thing as a "minor" pedestrian accident. Any impact from a car, truck, or SUV is likely to kill or seriously injure a vulnerable pedestrian. Common pedestrian accident injuries include skull fractures and trauma to the head, broken legs, a fractured pelvis, as well as torn knee ligaments, concussions, and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Other types of head, neck, spine, and musculoskeletal injuries are also common.

In Florida, the situation is particularly grim. The state has the second-highest pedestrian death rate in the nation. There are 4.13 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people here, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reports. Pedestrian deaths rose by 20 percent in just two years. Statewide, there were 745 deaths in 2019. Last year there were 899, the GHSA reports.

The deadly trend appears to be ongoing. Locally, in November, there was a fatal pedestrian accident near the intersection of Eastbrook Boulevard and Aloma Avenue in Winter Park.

Why is the fatal pedestrian accident rate rising?

The GHSA report, "Pedestrian Traffic Accidents by State," identifies key trends and factors contributing to a spike in pedestrian deaths. These include:

  • More foot traffic. People started walking more during the COVID-19 lockdown. We've all been further encouraged to walk, instead of drive, by skyrocketing gas prices.
  • Lack of pedestrian-safe street crossings.
  • Inadequate street lighting.
  • Increased reckless driving behaviors - especially speeding. Various studies suggest that, with fewer vehicles on the road during the pandemic, many motorists let their good driving habits slip.
  • SUV sales contribute as well, researchers say. Due to its larger size, this popular vehicle type is more likely than a smaller passenger vehicle to cause fatal injuries to a pedestrian in the event of a collision.
  • Inadequate sidewalks. Areas that lack sidewalks put pedestrians at a higher risk of getting hit by a car or truck, researchers say. When sidewalks are not present, the pedestrian accident-per-mile rate is three times higher than when a sidewalk is present, according to a unique Central Florida study.

Political action

Traffic safety leaders and politicians are responding to the crisis in a variety of ways.

In Volusia County, Oakland Boulevard (SR 430) has been redesigned from three lanes of motorized traffic to two lanes of traffic and a bicycle lane that can also be used by pedestrians. The design is intended to reduce vehicle speeds in the area, which would also improve safety. The lanes were narrowed, and curb "bump-outs" were added, along with landscaping.

Statewide, politicians are considering the placement of cameras on school bus swing-out stop signs. This would hold people accountable for illegally driving around school buses with flashing red lights. Fatal school bus accidents are a growing and deadly problem here.

Talk to a pedestrian accident attorney today

If you were injured or a loved one died in a Central Florida pedestrian accident, we can help you find your way forward and fight for the compensation you're entitled to. Learn more about your legal options during a free case consultation with our law firm. We serve all of Central Florida from our office in Winter Park and represent clients on a contingency fee basis. That means you don't have to provide any upfront money, and you pay no fees unless we win your case.

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