The streets of Central Florida are not a safe place for pedestrians. More pedestrians are killed on Central Florida roads than anywhere else in the country, according to a recent study by Smart Growth America.
This week, a deadly hit-and-run occurred involving a 17-year-old pedestrian who was walking outside the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando. The driver immediately took off, heading west away from the scene.
Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon occurrence. More than 49,000 pedestrians were killed in hit-and-run accidents between 2008 and 2017 nationwide, 5,433 of these fatalities occurred in Florida. Further, 165 of the pedestrian fatalities occurred in Brevard County. Brevard County has consistently been ranked as one of the worst counties for pedestrian injuries and fatalities.
The study, which was done by Smart Growth America analyzed the most recent statistics from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. They ranked each metro area by measure, referred to as the pedestrian danger index. The largest share of national accidents involving pedestrian or non-motorist deaths came from the State of Florida.
Of the Florida pedestrian deaths, more than 20 percent of them occurred in the metro areas surrounding Orlando, Melbourne, Lakeland, and Daytona Beach. When listing the top five most dangerous cities in the country for pedestrians, all five were in Florida. Of the top 20 metropolitan areas listed, eight of them were in Florida.
What makes our area so dangerous for pedestrians? Many have attributed it to roads that were designed and built solely for driving convenience and not for the safety of pedestrians and non-motorists.
According to the study, the most vulnerable people to be struck in pedestrian hit-and-run accidents were older adults, minorities, and those living in low-income communities. This report is not the first time our area has been deemed deadly for pedestrians. Previous ‘Dangerous by Design’ reports published in 2009, 2011, 2014, and 2016 all ranked Orlando as the deadliest area for pedestrians.
The individuals who conducted the study could not pinpoint one individual factor that contributed to the increased risk of danger to pedestrians in Orlando. However, they did point out an increase number of larger vehicles, including pickup trucks and SUVs driving on the road, which are more likely to cause serious car accidents when hitting people. They also pointed to land-development issues, including the need for more pedestrian walkways and wider roads for vehicles to travel safely away from those walking on sidewalks.
In the report, the areas of danger for Orlando pedestrians included the following: The Colonial Drive and Central Avenue crosswalk, where a fatality occurred in 2016, is listed as one of the most dangerous intersections for pedestrians, along with, State Road 436 at the east side of Orlando; Orange Blossom Trail south of I-4; Colonial Drive, Hiawassee Road and Pine Hills Road in Pine Hills; U.S. highways 192 and 441 in the Kissimmee area; State Road 50 through Bithlo; and State Road 46 in Sanford. All of these areas have multi-lane roads with very few safe crossing areas, heavy traffic, and fast speed limits, all which make for a dangerous combination for pedestrians.
If you were seriously injured in a pedestrian accident, or if someone close to you has died as a result of careless driver anywhere in the State of Florida, contact our law firm today for a free consultation. The attorneys at Wooten Kimbrough Damaso & Dennis, P.A. is comprised of award-winning trial lawyers who have obtained record setting verdicts for the injured and their families in Central Florida and around the world. From investigating the cause of the accident to helping you get the medical treatment you need, our experienced legal team is here to assist you every step of the way, and get you the compensation you deserve.