Pedestrians at High Risk in Broward, Miami-Dade Counties

Broward and Miami-Dade will benefit from new traffic safety programs after a state study found that those counties have the highest number of pedestrian fatalities and injuries.

Our Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident attorney is a staunch advocate for victims injured by the negligence of others. butterfly-in-hong-kong-1429841-m.jpg

According to the Florida Department of Transportation, the state in 2011 had a pedestrian fatality rate nearly double the national average. Florida had the highest pedestrian fatality rate among all states in 2011, with 2.60 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 persons.

In addition, Florida has the top four metropolitan areas on the list of most dangerous metro areas for walking in the U.S.: 1) Orlando-Kissimmee, 2) Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, 3) Jacksonville, and 4) Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach.

In response to the risks, the Florida DOT authorized the development of a strategic safety plan which, as a threshold issue, identified the counties in the state which would have priority when pedestrian safety initiatives are implemented by the state.

After examining the combined pedestrian fatality and injury totals for the state in recent years, the study identified 10 counties to be given priority: Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough, Orange, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Duval, Pasco, Volusia, and Lee.

Miami-Dade had 283 pedestrian fatalities between 2007 and 2010, the most of any county. Broward had 215 pedestrian fatalities for the same period. Hillsborough County was the next worst in the state, with 168 fatalities. Between 2007 and 2010, a total of 2013 pedestrians died in Florida traffic accidents.

For the same period, 30,373 pedestrians suffered injuries in Florida. Of those accidents, 5,500 occurred in Miami-Dade, and 3,841 occurred in Broward.

Importantly, the study found that traffic accidents involving pedestrians are more likely to result in fatal or serious injuries that require medical attention. For example, in 2010 traffic accidents involving pedestrians resulted in 2,072 nonfatal hospitalizations, and 7,650 nonfatal emergency room visits.

An analysis of death records revealed that 30 percent of pedestrian traffic fatalities from 2008-2010 involved traumatic brain injuries.

And in the five-year period from 2007 to 2011, more pedestrians ages 45-54 were fatally injured in pedestrian accidents than any other group, followed by pedestrians ages 35-44 and 55-64.

The study also indicated the most dangerous locations for pedestrian accidents, with injuries occurring most frequently at midblock locations without a crosswalk. In this regard, 29 percent of pedestrian injuries occurred while the pedestrian was crossing the road at a place other than at an intersection.

Mainly due to left-turns and right-turn-on-red maneuvers, the second highest location for pedestrian accidents is at intersections. Not surprisingly, parking lots are also high-risk areas for pedestrians.

The Florida DOT strategic plan pledges the state to use a “unified, comprehensive approach” to ensure that all areas of the state’s transportation system provide “safe and accessible travel options” for pedestrians.

Key proposals under the state’s strategic pedestrian safety plan include:

* The statewide collection of crash report data with the aim of identifying accident causes and specific danger zones;

* The creation of educational and licensing programs promoting the safe sharing of roadways by motorists and pedestrians;

* The use of highway and traffic engineering to improve the safety of Florida’s roadways for pedestrians;

* A greater emphasis by law enforcement and emergency services on improving safety for pedestrians;

* The creation of communication programs designed to improve public awareness of pedestrian safety issues; and
* A review of traffic laws and regulations to ensure they are consistent with the goal of protecting pedestrians.

If you have been injured, call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at 954-256-7908.