According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than one fifth of the people killed on the world’s roads each year are not travelling in a car, on a motorcycle or even on a bicycle – they are pedestrians. Pedestrian deaths and injuries are often preventable, and proven interventions exist, yet in many locations pedestrian safety does not attract the attention it merits
Florida comes in at the 3rd highest rate for pedestrian fatalities in the US with Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people: 2.46. Total pedestrian fatalities were 476 (3rd highest) and total traffic fatalities: 2,424 (3rd highest). Pedestrian fatalities fell by 4.3% between 2011 and 2012 to 2.46 deaths per 100,000 residents, one of only two states on this list where the death rate declined over that period. This improvement may be due to Florida’s Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, which provides resources to improve local infrastructures. With one of the highest shares of the population in the country commuting more than 30 minutes per day — most of which will travel by car — Florida has a lot to gain from ensuring pedestrian safety. Florida’s high pedestrian death rate may be due in part to its large elderly population, which accounts for 18.2% of the state’s total residents and is the highest proportion in the country. According to one recent study by 24/7 Wall St., residents over 65 years old account for a relatively large proportion of pedestrian deaths, and are more likely than other groups to be involved in accidents.
Everyone is a pedestrian* at some time, and most know to keep their distance from moving traffic. Despite that, pedestrians were among the few categories of road users where deaths rose, accounting for 14% of total traffic fatalities in 2011, up 3% from 2010. If the proportions remain the same, we can expect that one pedestrian will be injured every 8 minutes and one will die every 2 hours in a traffic crash this year.
Nearly 3 out of 4 pedestrian deaths occur in urban environments (73%), at non-intersections (70%), during the nighttime (70%), and many involve alcohol. More than a third (37%) of the pedestrians killed, and 1 in 8 (13%) of the drivers in pedestrian fatalities, had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .08 g/dL or higher in 2011, the illegal limit in every State. Either the driver or pedestrian, or both, had some alcohol in 47% of all fatal pedestrian crashes.
What we know is that pedestrians and drivers do not obey laws and signals consistently and many often use cell phones and music players while walking or driving. Only 60% of pedestrians said they expected drivers to stop when they were in crosswalks, even though they have the right-of-way (Review of Studies on Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety, 1991-2007).
*NHTSA defines a pedestrian as any person on foot, walking, running, jogging, hiking, in a wheelchair, sitting, or lying down. Crashes that occurred exclusively on private> property, including parking lots and driveways, are not included in NHTSA’s FARS and GES databases but are gathered in NHTSA’s Not-In-Traffic Surveillance System (www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811085.pdf, and www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811116.pdf).