Florida ranked most dangerous state for pedestrians

February 1, 2019

Pedestrians walking in populous areas of Florida are more likely to be struck and killed by a vehicle than in any other state. A new study found Florida is the most dangerous place for walking in the U.S., with several Sunshine State cities ranked in the top 20 areas for pedestrian deaths.

The study was released earlier this month by Smart Growth America, which dubbed the research "Dangerous by Design." It highlights how many cities continue to prioritize streets to move automobiles at fast speeds and often spend little effort and time to consider pedestrians who walk places. Overall, the stats are eye-opening. Between 2008 and 2017, 49,340 pedestrians were killed by a vehicle while walking in the U.S. That's the equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing with no survivors once a month month for nine years.

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Data comes from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, a national database for all fatal traffic crashes. It helped compile the study's "Pedestrian Danger Index," which then ranked the 20 least safe cities to walk in and 20 least safe states. Florida comes out on top in both cases.

In the city ranking, the top six areas all reside in the Sunshine State: Orlando-Kissimmee, Daytona Beach, Palm Bay-Melbourne, North Port-Sarasota, Lakeland-Winter Haven, and Jacksonville. Three other cities fill the top 20 from Florida. Largely, areas in the south are the most dangerous states. The study showed the majority of deaths are focused in low-income areas and involve minority races and elderly people. 

State-wide, 5,433 pedestrians were killed in Florida between 2008 and 2017. Based on the state's population, the PDI calculated the highest chance for pedestrians to be struck and killed by a vehicle. For every 100,000 people, nearly 3 people died between 2008 and 2017—the highest ratio of any state. Alabama, Delaware, Louisiana, and Mississippi round out the top five states.

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