Florida has been one of the main contributors to the increase in pedestrian deaths in the United States. After decreasing over a 20-year period, pedestrian fatalities went up every year in the past decade. Now, they stand at a 30-year high even though there are numerous safety initiatives underway to try to make the streets a safer place for pedestrians.
The top-line numbers show an undeniable trend. Before the start of the last decade, the number of pedestrian deaths stood at approximately 4,500. By 2019, the number had risen above 6,500. Nearly half of the pedestrian deaths in the U.S. are concentrated in a handful of states that includes Florida. In fact, Florida has one of the three highest fatality rates in the country.
One of the reasons for the uptick in fatalities is that the vehicles that people drive are bigger. While this is safer for their drivers, it is more dangerous for pedestrians, who have less of a chance of surviving the accident. In addition, the use of cell phones has increased in the past decade, meaning that there are more distracted drivers illegally using handheld devices behind the wheel. Finally, the combination of warmer weather and more people permanently ditching cars means that there are more pedestrians sharing the space with drivers. Policymakers are struggling against these factors when they initiate safety programs.
Pedestrians who have been struck and injured by a motorist may be entitled to financial compensation, assuming that they themselves were not at fault for the accident. They should contact a pedestrian accidents attorney to learn more about their legal rights and whether they have the ability to file an insurance claim. The attorney could handle the settlement negotiations or may file a lawsuit if the two parties cannot reach an agreement.