Pedestrian deaths throughout Florida and the rest of the country have increased by 46 percent since falling to a record low in 2009. Furthermore, researchers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have discovered that the number of pedestrians struck and killed by SUVs rose by an alarming 81 percent during the same period. Other studies have found that pedestrian deaths are especially high in poorer areas. Detroit, which has experienced a lot of urban decay in recent years, is now the most dangerous city in America for pedestrians.
According to a recent media investigation, pedestrians account for one in four road deaths in Detroit, and the situation in the Motor City gives road safety advocates little to be optimistic about. Significant investment will be required to repair Detroit’s crumbling infrastructure and redevelop its poorly planned public spaces. However, raising the money needed will be difficult for a city facing severe economic hardship and a dwindling tax base.
Another problem facing pedestrians in poor areas are the high costs of car ownership. Auto insurance rates in Detroit are the highest in the nation, and obtaining even liability coverage can be prohibitively expensive in many other cities where pedestrians are killed with worrying regularity. However, cities with the means to tackle the problem head on have been able to achieve impressive results. A concerted effort to increase pedestrian safety in New York led to pedestrian deaths falling to a level not seen since the dawn of the automobile age.
When pedestrian injuries occur, legal action is normally taken against negligent drivers or their auto insurance companies. However, experienced personal injury attorneys may also initiate this type of litigation against local authorities in certain situations. Towns or cities may be sued when pedestrians are injured because sidewalks are inaccessible or in such a poor state of repair that walking in the street is the only viable option.