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More traffic brings increased risk of pedestrian accidents in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) recently announced that pedestrian fatalities increased during the first 6 months of 2010.

After 4 consecutive years of steady decline the slight increase in pedestrian accidents is a concern to our Fort Lauderdale accident attorneys. Traffic deaths were down considerably during this same time period.

The report was done by an independent researcher, Dr. James Hedlund, who used to work for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This new study Spotlight on Safety: Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State focuses on state-by-state pedestrian deaths, which is the first of its kind.

According to the report there have been 7 more pedestrian deaths during the first 6 months of 2010 than the previous period last year. Since 2005 there has been an average drop in fatalities of 200 each year. During this same 6-month period, traffic deaths decrease by 8%.

GHSA Chairman Vernon F. Betkey Jr. notes, “Nationally, pedestrian fatalities account for about 12 percent of overall traffic deaths, a small but significant portion. Given that we have made so much progress in this area, GHSA is concerned to see this reversal. One factor may be the increased distractions for both pedestrians and drivers. Anyone who travels in a busy city has seen countless pedestrians engrossed in conversation or listening to music while crossing a busy street. Just as drivers need to focus on driving safely, pedestrians need to focus on walking safely – without distractions.”

Interesting facts from the report (Washington D.C. was counted as a state):

-28 states had pedestrian deaths decline.
-18 states had pedestrian deaths increase.
-5 states had no change.
-8 states had a double digit increase in pedestrian deaths including: Arizona (up 21), Florida (up 35), Massachusetts (up 11), Michigan (up 10), North Carolina (up 17), Oklahoma (up 16), Oregon (up 18) and Virginia (up 10).

The report suggested these measures to improve pedestrian safety:

-Allocate appropriate resources to make pedestrian safety a priority.

-Examine crash data to recognize pedestrian problem areas.

-Engineer roadways to be more pedestrian friendly, add crosswalks and roadway space.

-Continue to educate the public about pedestrian safety.

-Strengthen laws regarding pedestrians in crosswalks.

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident in Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach, contact the West Palm Beach Law Offices of Dean H. Freeman for a free consultation. Call 1-800-529-2368.

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