The Florida pedestrian accident death of a 16-year-old on Palm Coast has prompted residents in the community to advocate for increased street and traffic lights and sidewalks on the stretch of road where it happened.
The are in which the teen was walking on the night she was killed is not lighted and has no sidewalks, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The Palm Coast Observer reported the driver who struck her said he couldn’t see her due to her dark clothing. However, that this fact alone does not mean she is responsible for the crash, nor does it means her family is barred from pursuing litigation. These kinds of cases should be weighed by an experienced injury lawyer.
Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its updated numbers on pedestrian accidents nationally. The results were not encouraging.
In 2015, the most recent year for which national data is available, there were 5,376 pedestrian accident fatalities. This marked a 9.5 percent increase in the number of pedestrian deaths in just a single year. That’s the highest number since 1996.
On average, a pedestrian was killed every hour-and-a-half in this country and one was injured every 7.5 minutes.
Florida is an especially dangerous place for people on foot – and has been for some time. of the 2,939 people killed in traffic accidents, 628 were pedestrians. That was third only to California (732) and Texas (537), which both have populations that dwarf Florida’s – Texas has 7 million more people and California has 20 million more.
When it came to cities that had a high rate of pedestrian accident deaths, those with a population of 500,000 or higher, Jacksonville had one of the highest rates, with 4.31 per 100,000 population.
One in every five pedestrians killed were children 14 and younger. The 16-year-old Matanzas High School student killed in Palm Coast was walking on an area of road where a multi-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists is planned. Although the Florida Department of Transportation has approved a grant that will fund it and the city is about a third of the way complete designing it, ground likely won’t be broken for several more months at least.
Just two weeks before the fatal crash, residents had informed city leaders of the dangers along the road and of the pressing need for sidewalks. One resident responding to a citizen survey said residents there feel “forgotten.”
Now, after the teen’s death, they note that while sidewalks and multi-use paths may take time, street lights are easier and faster – and likely should have been installed a long time ago. The city had originally implemented a continuous street light program, but city council slashed that during the recession and never re-funded it.
Issues like this aren’t isolated to Palm Coast.
According to the most recent annual Dangerous by Design report, eight of the top 10 most dangerous metro regions for pedestrians are in Florida. The 11th is Miami-Fort Lauderdale – West Palm Beach.
The number of pedestrian accident fatalities in Florida has been steadily climbing over the last 10 years. Victims are more likely to be older, poorer and minorities, the study found.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
Residents push for more street lights after teenager is struck and killed walking after dark, March 14, 2017, By Jonathan Simmons, Palm Coast Observer
More Blog Entries:
Poor Road Design, Inadequate Signage Blamed in Car Accident, Feb. 19, 2017, Fort Lauderdale Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Blog