ORLANDO, Fla. - Thousands of people die every year while crossing the street. A significant number of those deaths seem to happen in Central Florida, according to a new study.
Smart Growth America, a nonprofit that focuses on development issues, studied the number of pedestrian deaths in metro areas from 2008-2017. The urban planning and development network organization analyzed the number of motor vehicle crash deaths across the country using the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. FARS is a national database of all fatal traffic crashes organized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
During that time period, Florida had 5,433 pedestrian deaths. More than a fifth of them were reported in Central Florida metro areas.
According to the report, 656 people died in the Orlando, Kissimmee, Sanford area, topping their list of the most dangerous areas to walk.
Following directly behind are areas in Central Florida's coast. The Deltona, Daytona Beach and Ormond Beach area had 212 deaths in the report's nine-year period. The Palm Bay, Melbourne and Titusville area had 165.
[SEE INTERACTIVE MAP BELOW]
*By clicking on a point, one can see the year of the incident and the county where it happened. SGA plotted every pedestrian fatality with a definite location from 2008-2017. (National Complete Streets Coalition)
In Florida, most of the victims involved in fatal pedestrian crashes seem to be men. In 2017, two-thirds of the victims were male, according to the FARS database. Most of the victims that year were between 25 and 34 years old.
The database also reveals 16 pedestrians in Florida died by a construction zone in 2017. FARS fatality map shows a number of them happened near I-4. The database is still aggregating data for a 2018 report.
The Governors Highway Safety Association also uses FARS to promote safer roads and streets nationally. The agency analyzes data to release a projection of pedestrian deaths annually and how transportation agencies can avoid making that projection a reality.
GHSA released their report earlier this year, saying the number of pedestrian fatalities have continued to climb are projected to increase.
The agency says most pedestrian fatalities take place on local roads, at night, away from intersections. Over the past decade, nighttime crashes account for more than 90 percent of the total increase in pedestrian deaths.
GHSA attributes the rising death toll in pedestrians to the fact that streets and roadways are built to maintain a metro area's growing population, making lanes fit for cars and buses rather than those who need to get around on foot.
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