Elderly South Floridians Face Particularly Dangerous Roads

Mar. 3rd, 2015   /   , , ,

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As our Florida personal injury lawyers know, the stretch from Miami to West Palm Beach consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous places in the country for pedestrians – and it especially so for senior citizens. The statistics, as we’ll explore in this post, paint a frightening picture.

If you’re elderly, South Florida’s roads are particularly treacherous and for many reasons. Relatively slow pace, poor eyesight and the diminished ability to react to the unexpected mean that you’re more likely than normal to be struck by a vehicle. Many senior citizens face this risk every time they walk to the bus stop or to the grocery store, as we at the Law Offices of Aronberg, Aronberg & Green know all too well.

A recent report by Dangerous by Design listed South Florida as scoring a whopping 145.33 on the so-called Pedestrian Danger Index, which calculates scores based on traffic fatalities and the number of people who walk to work. South Florida’s high score is truly frightening given that the national average is just 52.2. According to the Miami Herald, Florida as a state is the “least pedestrian-friendly” place in the entire country.

Let’s consider some scary statistics. Although people aged 65 and over makeup just 12.6% of the total U.S. population, they account for nearly 21% of nationwide pedestrian fatalities. In other words, the pedestrian fatality rate for older adults across the country is 3.19 per 100,000 vs. just 1.75 per 100,000 for those who are under 65 years of age. For the population over 75 years old, the fatality rate is a sharply higher 3.96 per 100,000.

With Florida’s especially high percentage of senior citizens as part of the state population, it is no wonder that the Sunshine State is so dangerous; with the Baby Boomer generation nearing retirement age, this dangerous trend is only expected to continue. In the Sunshine State, 32% of pedestrian crashes occur at intersections; Miami-Dade County’s rate of pedestrian accidents at intersections is 36% and Broward’s is 31%. While jaywalking is certainly a contributing factor in Florida’s high rate of crashes resulting in pedestrian injuries, roughly 25% of pedestrian rashes take place in parking lots.

Reacting to Florida’s high rate of pedestrian accidents, which disproportionately affect the elderly population of the state, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), in 2013, created the Bicycle/Pedestrian Focused Initiative, which released a plan to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety.

An article from the Miami Herald proposes thoughtful ways to improve pedestrian safety in Florida. Among the recommendations are: lowering speed limits where there’s a high volume of pedestrian traffic, widening sidewalks and bike lanes, installing frequent crosswalks and signaling on long blocks, narrowing traffic lanes, limiting right turns on red, improving lighting along streets and walkways, etc.

Our personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Aronberg, Aronberg & Green see this as a dire issue – one that requires increased attention. Our entire practice is dedicated to representing individuals who have been harmed due to the negligence and/or wrongdoing of another. So, if you’ve been injured in such an accident, please contact us by calling 561-266-9191 or e-mailing daronberg@aronberglaw.com to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to helping you.

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