Each year, Smart Growth America releases a Dangerous by Design report which evaluates where pedestrian fatalities happen across the country and provides metropolitan rankings based on the Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI). Released in May 2014, this report identifies the most dangerous regions as Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Jacksonville and Miami. These Florida cities are the top 4 with Memphis completing the top 5. In Orlando, pedestrians are four times more likely to be killed than the national average. The study blames the fact that these cities were built with wide roads and high speed limits allowing cars to get where they are going quickly. Unfortunately, this design is not ideal for pedestrians.
In fact, speed has been shown to increase the probability of a pedestrian accident occurring as well as resulting in more serious injuries from the crash. In one third of all traffic fatalities, speeding is listed as a factor. A pedestrian hit by a car going 20 mph has a 94% chance of survival whereas one hit by a car going 45 mph has a 35% chance of survival. In addition, the report highlights that fatalities are more likely to occur on arterial roads and roads with speed limits of 40 mph or higher, which dominate the Southeast’s infrastructure.
This is not the first year that Florida cities have topped the report. As a result of the 2011 report, the Bicycle/Pedestrian Focused Initiative was created which focuses on engineering, education and enforcement methods to reduce fatalities. Walking friendly design standards have been implemented on new roads and those that undergo repairs. Improvements have been observed as a result of these efforts, but additional work is required. In fact, more than two-thirds of pedestrian deaths occur on federal roads requiring federal funding and federal guidance for upgrades, so local efforts will only go so far.
If you or a loved one has been impacted by a pedestrian accident you should consider hiring a personal injury attorney to help you receive the compensation needed to aid in recovery.