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Report: Florida Streets "Most Dangerous in Nation" for Pedestrians

Florida streets are the most dangerous in the nation for pedestrians, says a new report. (DodgertonSkillhause/morguefile)
Florida streets are the most dangerous in the nation for pedestrians, says a new report. (DodgertonSkillhause/morguefile)
January 19, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- On average, 13 pedestrians are killed every day in collisions with vehicles - and Florida tops the list of the most dangerous places to walk.

A new report called, "Dangerous By Design," looked at pedestrian deaths by city and state. It found that between 2005 and 2014, more than 4,600 people were struck and killed by cars while walking.

Emiko Atherton, director at the National Complete Streets Coalition, said street design is a major factor in these fatal collisions. Many of the deaths occur on streets with fast-moving cars and poor pedestrian infrastructure. And, she said, lower-income communities tend to have more fatalities.

"People of color and older adults are disproportionately represented in pedestrian deaths,” Atherton said. "For instance, non-whites, including Hispanics, account for 34.9 percent of the national population, but 46.1 [percent] of pedestrian deaths."

For the fourth consecutive year of research, Florida had the most pedestrian deaths of any state, and eight of the top 10 most dangerous metropolitan areas for pedestrians. In 2016, the Florida Department of Transportation committed to a "Complete Streets" plan aimed at changing the way roads are designed and built, and making them safer for all travelers.

Atherton said this year's report is the first time they have looked in-depth at the pedestrian victims of these incidents. The U.S. Surgeon General has urged Americans to get more physical activity, and has encouraged folks to walk to school, work and around their neighborhood.

Atherton said there are certain groups who are taking that advice to heart.

"And we also are starting to see a great increase in preferences - particularly between millennials, and a desire between adults over 65 and older - to walk more,” she said.

Traffic crashes were the second-leading cause of unintentional injury death in the U.S. between 2011 and 2014. The report said Americans are over seven times more likely to die as a pedestrian than as the result of a natural disaster.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - FL