In the News: Hillsborough’s Shameful Pedestrian Death Record
Pedestrian deaths in Hillsborough County jumped a whopping 50 percent in 2015 over the previous year.
At least 51 pedestrians were killed in the county last year, the highest number since Florida began tracking pedestrian fatalities and a significant increase over the 34 who lost their lives in 2014.
Why is Tampa Bay (along with Other Parts of Florida) So Deadly to Pedestrians?
So what’s going on here? For years Florida has topped the charts in total pedestrian deaths, as home to the top four most pedestrian-deadly metropolitan regions. The Tampa Bay area is second only to Orlando/Kissimmee and followed by Jacksonville and Miami-Dade.
In response to the dire figures, public figures have vowed to make changes to improve the safety of those who get around on foot, clearly to no avail. One reason may be the predominance of high speed multi-lane arterial highways that provide few crosswalks with signals. People are more likely to attempt dangerous crossings of very wide roads between widely spaced crosswalks than take the time to go out of their way to find a safe place to cross. Sidewalks slanting toward the street and areas without sidewalks at all may also contribute to the problem. State and local government departments that design and maintain roads have contributed to the problem by failing to include sufficient consideration of the needs of pedestrians and instead designing road systems that only consider keeping vehicular traffic moving smoothly, without regard to pedestrian safety.
Who is to Blame for Florida’s High Number of Pedestrian Deaths and Injuries?
While pedestrians themselves may engage in behaviors that put them at risk, the bottom line is that drivers must be attentive and aware of pedestrians and cyclists in the road and need to avoid distractions and higher than posted speeds. Law enforcement needs to enforce speed limits and other traffic laws, and civil planners need to work diligently to create safe areas for walking and adequate crosswalks, crossing signals, overpasses, and sidewalks.
The Right of Victims to Recover Money for Pedestrian Injuries and Wrongful Deaths
A pedestrian who is hit by a motor vehicle and suffers serious injuries or the surviving family members of a victim of a fatal pedestrian accident should always consult an experienced Tampa Bay personal injury attorney. In many cases, victims and families are eligible to recover money, sometimes a substantial amount, in compensation for their losses—both financial losses and damage to their quality of life. Even if the pedestrian was partially at fault, it is often possible to win money, although the award may be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to the victim. But it is important to get started early on, because if you miss a filing deadline you could lose your right to recover monetary compensation.
To learn more about pedestrian accidents, the steps to take following an injury or death, and how to obtain the help you need, click here.