We’ve all heard about the dangers of distracted drivers in South Florida. But what about the hazards of distracted pedestrians?
That’s one of the takeaways from a Governors Highway Safety Association report, “Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety.” As David Schaper reported for NPR on “All Things Considered,” distractions – on the part of both drivers and pedestrians – are the third leading cause of pedestrian deaths in the United States. The first two are speeding vehicles and failure to yield.
The numbers are staggering
Other findings from the safety report and NPR:
- 5,987 pedestrians died in traffic accidents in 2016, an 11 percent increase from 2015. That’s the biggest single-year increase in the 40 years of reporting on pedestrian fatalities.
- Fifteen percent of pedestrians killed each year are hit by a drunk driver, and a third of pedestrians killed are legally drunk.
- The numbers are particularly bad in Florida. In 2015, the state had the second-highest rate of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 residents, at 3.12. Florida trailed behind only Delaware, at 3.38. For the nation as a whole, the average rate was 1.75.
- A pedestrian struck at 20 mph has a 10 percent chance of dying. At 40 mph, the chance of death is 80 percent.
- About 75 percent of pedestrian fatalities happen at night.
- Seventy-two percent of pedestrian fatalities are people not crossing at intersections or crosswalks.
Melody Geraci, of the Active Transportation Alliance in Chicago, told NPR that lower speed limits, improved road designs and additional sidewalks are among the keys to reducing pedestrian fatalities, as well as new vehicle technologies that warn drivers about pedestrians.
But, as the report points out, the biggest factor is personal responsibility exercised by drivers and pedestrians alike. Most importantly, both must be aware of their surroundings and behave accordingly.
Why pedestrian accidents happen
No matter how careful you are as a pedestrian, you could have become the innocent victim of a life-changing accident. A driver may fail to stop at a crosswalk. Or the driver is drunk. Or a teenage driver may not be paying attention because he or she is using a cell phone. No matter what happened, the driver is likely to cast the blame on you.
Whether your accident occurred in Lake Worth, Pompano Beach or West Palm Beach, you are likely dealing with catastrophic injuries. You may be facing major medical bills while being unable to work. At worst, you have suffered the tragic loss of a loved one. Adding to your pain is the stress from an insurance company trying to pressure you into a settlement. They know you’re desperate and will offer you far less money than you deserve.
Don’t fall for their tricks or give in to your despair. The South Florida pedestrian accident lawyers at Gonzalez and Cartwright have successfully handled many cases just like yours. We understand what you are going through and will handle your case with professionalism and compassion.