Cellphone Use Linked to Upsurge in Pedestrian Deaths

A recent preliminary report on 2015 pedestrian deaths in the U.S. showed a 10% increase over 2014.

The "Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State" report, issued by the Governors Highway Safety Association, uses the data for the first 6 months of 2015 to project for the full year. If the numbers hold true, 2015 will show the largest annual increase in pedestrian deaths since 1975.

Spike in Pedestrian Deaths Partly Blamed on Cellphone Use

Driving while distracted when using a cellphone - as well as walking distracted while talking or texting - are linked to this large increase in pedestrian deaths. Other factors may include:

  • More drivers are driving more miles on U.S. roads than ever before.
  • Shorter winters and warmer weather get people out and about longer and earlier.
  • Improving economy and reduced fuel prices.
  • Health care professionals urging people to walk more.

The latest results are part of a trend that began in 2005 when the number of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents began climbing. In 2015, pedestrian deaths accounted for 15% of total traffic deaths. Interestingly, 1/3 of the pedestrians killed in accidents had been drinking alcohol, compared to 15% of the drivers involved in those accidents who had blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels at or over the legal limit.

Florida: Highest per Capita Pedestrian Death Rate in U.S.

Our state tops the list of estimated pedestrian deaths in 2015 at 1.35 deaths per 100,000 residents. Florida and the other 3 most populous states - California, Texas and New York - account for 42% of these deaths.

The Governors report outlines recommendations to reduce the frequency and severity of pedestrian vs. motor vehicle crashes including:

  • Further separate pedestrians from drivers with refuge islands, sidewalks, overpasses and new traffic signals.
  • Increase the visibility of pedestrians with improved street lighting, more visible crosswalks and adding flashing beacons to crossing signs.
  • Slow cars down with speedbumps, using roundabouts instead of signal lights and automated enforcement.
  • Public awareness campaigns like "share the road."

There is one thing that we all can do to reduce these alarming statistics for both drivers and pedestrians, and that is to reinforce safe cellphone use. The U.S. Department of Transportation's Distraction.gov website has a wealth of information on the dangers of distracted driving. Check out the parent's section for tools to help you discuss this important subject with your teen, including a parent-teen driving contract and a pledge form.

Click here for cellphone use tips from the Florida Highway Patrol.

Contact Us for Help With a Pedestrian or Vehicle Accident

We can help if you or a family member has been injured in any vehicle accident including a pedestrian accident. Contact attorneys Diana Santa Maria and Laura D. Dolin, personal injury attorneys in Fort Lauderdale for a free consultation. You can reach us at (954) 434-1077 or contact us via the website. The Law Offices of Diana Santa Maria, P.A. will fight to get you the compensation you or your family member deserves.