While summer may be a scorcher in the Sunshine State, the rest of the year the weather in Florida is pleasant enough to take a walk. Some people walk for exercise, some people walk as a more cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly means of getting from point A to point B and some people walk simply because it may be more convenient for them than driving. However, car accidents involving pedestrians in Florida and nationwide are on a dangerous rise.
According to a recent report, pedestrian deaths across the nation have risen by 46 percent since 2009. In fact, nearly 6,000 pedestrians nationwide lost their lives in car accidents in 2016. The report noted that this uptick in pedestrian fatalities may be due to distracted driving and an increasing number of drivers on the road since the so-called "Great Recession." However, safety experts also cite the rise in popularity of SUVs was a factor in many pedestrian fatalities. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that the number of fatal auto-pedestrian crashes involving SUVs soared over 80 percent from 2009 to 2016.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that SUVs are more dangerous for pedestrians than standard automobiles. This is due not necessarily to the weight of such vehicles, but to their design. When a standard automobile strikes a person, the person is generally struck in the legs and tossed over the automobile's hood. However, SUVs have higher front ends, meaning that they strike a person in the head or chest, causing life-threatening head trauma or organ damage.
This report is significant, especially in light of the rising number of fatal auto-pedestrian crashes. With regards to auto-pedestrian crashes, Florida has the unfortunate honor of having two cities that ranked within the top 10 cities in the nation with a population of 200,000 or above with the greatest per-capita fatality rates. While there are many causes of auto-pedestrian accidents, oftentimes the driver is ultimately at fault for the crash. They may have been drunk, driving recklessly or simply distracted. However, any of these behaviors can demonstrate a breach of all motorists' duty of care to drive in a safe manner. Those who lost a love one in an auto-pedestrian crash may want to learn more about whether they can pursue compensation from the negligent party.