In 2013, there were around 4,700 pedestrians killed in the United States. While this is a steep reduction in pedestrian deaths compared with 7,500 fatalities in 1975, the news for pedestriansis still not good. The death toll appears to be rising again, as there was a 15 percent increase in the number of pedestrians killed by cars between 2009 and 2013. Now, a pedestrian is killed an average of once every two hours in the United States, according to Cars.com.
For residents of Florida who enjoy walking, the situation is especially dire. In 2011, Florida was the single worst state in the country for walkers due to its high pedestrian death rate, as reported by the Tampa Tribune. A slight improvement moved Florida up to the fifth worst location for walkers by 2014, with WTSP reporting Florida had 2.46 pedestrian fatalities for every 100,000 people in the state, compared with 2.94 fatalities in the new #1 least safe location (Delaware). There were 501 pedestrians killed in a single year in Florida, with only California having a higher raw number of annual deaths.
Around 20 percent of all pedestrian fatalities nationwide happen in hit-and-run accidents. Many deaths and injuries of pedestrians also occur because drivers speed, they are distracted or they otherwise fail to operate vehicles safely. When a death or injury is caused in whole or in part by the actions of a driver, victims or their family members can take legal action and pursue a claim for compensation for crash losses. A Naples accident attorney can help those hurt or those whose loved ones died in crashes to understand their rights with respect to making damage claims against negligent drivers.
Reducing Pedestrian Accidents in Naples and Beyond
Cars.com reports that states are reacting to the rising pedestrian death rate with new efforts at making the roads safer and new efforts at educating the public about high-risk driving and walking behaviors.
Florida has adopted a plan to identify high-risk zones using data analysis so resources can be allocated towards better enforcement of safety rules, as well as re-engineering these dangerous locations to make them safer. Florida is also spearheading a social media-driven outreach program, as well as initiating new on-campus education efforts to promote more responsible driving and walking behaviors.
Much of the education in Florida and throughout the U.S. is focused on the behaviors most likely to lead to pedestrians getting hit, hurt or killed. These behaviors include distracted driving, impaired driving and speeding. Nearly 20 percent of incidents in which pedestrians were killed by cars occurred on roads that had speed limits of 35 miles per hour or greater.
Drivers need to obey speed limits and other rules of the road, watch for pedestrians, drive carefully and share the road safely with walkers. If a pedestrian is hurt or killed and the walker can prove the driver violated a safety rule or was unreasonably careless in vehicle operations, the pedestrian or his family should be able to recover monetary payment for all economic and non-financial losses resulting from the pedestrian crash. Contact Ryan Kuhl at The Kelleher Firm as soon as you can after a pedestrian accident to get your case underway