There’s no secret that Florida has held one of the highest fatal pedestrian accident rates among other states for a number of years. While our state is still one of the most dangerous in terms of pedestrian accidents, a new report provides some good news that fewer pedestrian fatalities occurred last year.

According to a new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the number of pedestrians killed across the nation has declined for the first time since 2009. Numbers were analyzed and compared for the first six months of 2013 to the same time period in 2012. Pedestrian traffic fatalities in the U.S. decreased by 8.7 percent, from 2,175 pedestrian deaths in 2012 to 1,985 in 2013. The drop in pedestrian deaths is consistent with the four percent decline in total motor vehicle deaths nationwide for the first half of 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

While some states showed a slight decrease in fatal pedestrian accidents, Florida saw a large decrease from 234 deaths in 2012 to 179 in 2013—decreasing pedestrian deaths in our state by 55 people. In fact, Florida experienced the largest decline in fatal pedestrian accidents last year, according to the GHSA report.

Spotlight on Pedestrian Safety

While the report is good news—especially to Florida pedestrians—GHSA says it may be too soon to celebrate. “With distraction an increasing issue for both pedestrians and motorists, pedestrian safety continues to be a priority in many areas of the country,” said Kendell Poole, GHSA Chairman and Director of the Tennessee Office of Highway Safety.

Although Mallard Perez is encouraged by the decline in pedestrian fatalities across our state, we also know GHSA is correct. Our nation, state, highway officials, cities, drivers and pedestrians, need to do more to prevent future pedestrian accidents and deaths. Unfortunately, there are too many drivers who drive distracted, drunk, or drowsy. Many others speed, or just fail to see and yield to pedestrians.

Because pedestrians are at a disadvantage when they share the roadways with motor vehicles, the consequences for a pedestrian can be serious and even fatal in the event a car collides with a pedestrian. The good news is that Florida is continuing to educate drivers and pedestrians of the risks and also using engineering to combat the problem. For example, the city of Sarasota is adding median refuge islands along Bee Ridge Road and other pedestrian safety crossing safety features around the city.

While education and engineering can continue to help decrease the number of pedestrian accidents, injuries, and deaths, Mallard Perez encourages all drivers and pedestrians to respect each other in order to make the roads even safer. Please help us spread the word about pedestrian safety and share this article with those you know on Facebook or Twitter.

Damian Mallard, Esq.
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Board Certified Sarasota Personal Injury Attorney