Florida Ranks Second In Pedestrian Deaths
Florida has the dubious distinction of contributing the second most pedestrian deaths as any other state in the country. Only California had more pedestrian deaths and more pedestrian deaths per capita. Overall, the number of pedestrian deaths rose across all states in 2021, but Florida accounted for 12% of all the pedestrian deaths in the country. Florida further had the largest increase in pedestrian deaths out of any state in the country. The NHTSA, which keeps track of pedestrian death statistics, reported that 2021 was the deadliest year since 2005.
What’s going on? Is there some reason for the uptick in pedestrian deaths that we don’t know about? Why is 2021 worse than 2019? These are all questions that we’re currently struggling to answer.
Well, there are a lot of reasons that Florida would be particularly deadly when it comes to driving. Firstly, our state hosts millions of tourists each year which means that many of the drivers here are not locals. Locals know the roads and don’t have to think about what they’re doing. They’re not paying attention to Google Maps or stretching their necks to read road signs. All of these can take their attention from the vehicles or individuals who are around them. Despite what you’ve heard about the majority of accidents occurring within 1 mile of the home, people tend to drive better in familiar places. Being a tourist hot spot will increase the number of accidents.
Why was there a massive increase in the number of pedestrian deaths?
There wasn’t a massive increase everywhere. In fact, the state that contributes the most pedestrian deaths year after year actually reported a reduction in the overall number of deaths. That’s largely because its local politicians have been aware that California citizens are much more vulnerable than other Americans to traffic fatalities. Places like San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles have put a lot of money into improving infrastructure to avoid these deaths. Hence, California was one of the few states in the nation that reported a reduction in the overall number of deaths.
That being said, most places reported an increase in the number of deaths from 2021 to 2020. This only makes sense because the pandemic limited foot traffic and driving. However, it wasn’t all good news in 2020. While the number of overall accidents was reduced significantly, a larger percentage of these accidents turned out to be fatal. Theories include the possibility that fewer vehicles on the road make individual drivers drive faster. Truck accidents remained a problem over the pandemic.
Lastly, Florida has a very high number of uninsured drivers. This is likely contributing to the death toll.
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