Pedestrian fatality numbers are up
Nationally, pedestrian deaths increased by 4 percent from 2009 to 2010, NHTSA data shows. The NHTSA report notes 13 percent of traffic fatalities involved pedestrians. A pedestrian died about every two hours that year. Injuries also occurred at an alarming rate of one every eight seconds, amounting to 70,000 total injured pedestrians in 2010.
- Nearly nine out of 10 pedestrian fatalities happened when the weather was clear, and just over two-thirds occurred at night.
- Nearly 80 percent of pedestrian deaths in 2010 took place somewhere other than at an intersection; in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Transportation, that ratio is significantly lower, at a little less than half.
- Male pedestrians are at greater risk, amounting to more than two-thirds of pedestrian deaths.
The National Center for Statistics and Analysis found that weekends, including Friday, were the likeliest part of the week for pedestrian fatalities, with nearly half of them occurring during those three days of the week. In nearly half the fatal accidents, either the motorist or the pedestrian had been drinking.
Florida's actions to confront high pedestrian risk
This past summer, FDOT mounted an intensive four-week campaign called "Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow ... Safety Doesn't Happen by Accident." Through enforcement and education, FDOT sought to increase awareness of safe behavior by both pedestrians and motorists, with the help of the state's media outlets.
The four-week program is just a part of Florida's year-round efforts to make walking a safer activity. A representative of FDOT listed state roadway improvements that help pedestrians, including raised medians and islands where pedestrians can wait safely midway through crossing streets. Pedestrian signal timings, signage and street lighting are being improved as well.
The Tampa Bay region is a high area of focus, as nationally it has one of the highest pedestrian fatality rates in the country. If the larger Tampa Bay area was a state, its pedestrian fatality rate would be 16th among all the states in the nation.
The FDOT has consequently poured over $2 million into pedestrian safety improvements in the Tampa Bay region, such as more and better sidewalks, more countdown signals for pedestrians and high-intensity pavement markings. Along the Dale Mabry Highway, new boardwalk and sidewalks have been installed.
When pedestrian are injured
When a driver's negligence caused an accident that injures or kills a pedestrian, compensation is available for the accident victim or next of kin. A skilled personal injury attorney can help to file a claim to recover medical and other expenses.