Researchers who look at road fatalities have been alarmed at the rapidly growing rate at which pedestrians are being struck and killed by cars. According to information assembled for the Governors Highway Safety Association, pedestrian deaths are the fastest growing automobile related fatalities, and this has led investigators to try and figure out just what is happening that is making roads throughout Florida and the rest of the country so increasingly hazardous to people on foot. Preliminary research done by Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants shows that the number of deaths pedestrian fatalities throughout the country reached nearly 6,000 in Florida alone during the past year. This number is higher than it has been for the past two decades.
There are several hypotheses, including the recent slump in gas prices combined with the the growing recognition that exercising via walking is one of the best things a person can do for their body. Merging together, these two facts result both in more vehicles on the road as well as more people walking near roads. Certainly, these two conditions have not helped prevent the rise in pedestrian deaths between 2006 and 2015. The data suggests that pedestrians deaths now account for nearly 15 percent of all traffic fatalities compared to only 11 percent a decade ago.
Added to these issues, however, is another factor that many, including the National Safety Council, believe to be a primary contributing factor to this staggering growth of pedestrian deaths: cell phone usage. When drivers use their cell phones, they are no longer paying attention to the road. Each time a driver looks down to respond to a text they are putting everyone around them at risk. But it isn’t only drivers who are on their phones. Pedestrians are also responsible for paying attention to the world around them, looking both ways when crossing a street. Cell phones sap our attention away from the places where it probably should be and relocates it to a small bright square just before our eyes.
The increase of pedestrian deaths affects the country as a whole, but states with more temperate climates as well as large urban areas, states where walking is a viable mode of transportation year round, are the ones most affected. Florida is one of the most dangerous states in the union to be a pedestrian, as the above information shows, and that makes it even more important that those behind the wheels of cars put their phones down and pay attention.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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