According to a report recently released by Smart Growth America, almost 50,000 people were killed across our country during the past 10 years while doing an activity we all perform daily, walking. That is more than 13 people killed per day in pedestrian accidents! The problem is getting worse and these fatalities have increased by 35% over the same time period. Smart Growth says that the primary reason for this increase in danger is that our government policies encourage the building of roads that are wider and with longer blocks and design features that are directed towards delivering high speeds for cars rather than safety for pedestrians or those using bicycles or mass transit. The death rates are particularly high for our older citizens and people walking in lower income communities.
Florida is the number one most deadly state for pedestrian accidents and the rankings are not even close. Nine of the top twenty deadliest cities for pedestrian accidents are in Florida. Orlando is number one and the Dade – Broward – West Palm Beach just to the south of Port St. Lucie came in at number fourteen. A recent study on St. Lucie County done by TCPalm found that here 20% of crashes were pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents or involved a skateboarder. What is even more disturbing about these increases is that while deaths are up by 35%, vehicle miles driven has only increased by 8% and walking has only increased by 1%. This leads us to question whether street design is the main culprit or might other factors may be at work in increasing pedestrian accidents in Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce and the entire State of Florida.
We agree wholeheartedly with the conclusions drawn by Smart Growth. We should stop encouraging the building of roads which are designed primarily to make life fast and easy for motor vehicles at all costs. But we do believe there may be some other reasons for the increase in pedestrian accidents. Smart phones now dominate our lives. The volumes of text messages, emails and daily social media use have exploded in our society. An average user is said to touch his cell phone more than 2,600 times in a single day. So called “extreme users” might touch their phones more than 5,000 times per day. Do the math. To touch your phone this many times means you are likely touching it while driving or while walking on the street. And if you are looking at your phone, you are not keeping a safe lookout. According to the G.H.S.A., in 2016, distracted driving was reported in crashes that killed 3,450 people (9.2 percent of all fatalities); but incidents are often not reported. To stop this dangerous behavior while driving, Florida has the “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law.” F.S. 316.305. But the law is not yet strongly enforced in Port St. Lucie and pedestrian accidents continue to increase.
In the event of pedestrian accident in Port St. Lucie resulting in wrongful death or personal injury, a top personal injury attorney can subpoena a user’s billing records for a wireless communications device or the testimony of or written statements from appropriate authorities receiving such messages to use as evidence in order to prove a case of distracted driving. When there has been distracted driving (texting , emailing while driving) is involved it is important to hire an experienced accident attorney who knows how to obtain the evidence to prove that someone was actually using their cell phone while driving. Anyone involved in one of these accidents should contact an experienced accident attorney to protect their rights.
Injury attorney Todd C. Passman, P.A. handles pedestrian accidents, auto accidents, ridesharing accidents, DUI crashes, distracted driving, and bicycle accident cases serving Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, Stuart, and Okeechobee, Florida, and surrounding areas.
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If you, a family member or a friend have suffered a personal injury in an auto accident, or have questions please contact accident attorney Todd C. Passman today, at (772) 465-9806. Someone from our office will contact you right away.