What to Know
- The Sunshine State has been deemed the deadliest state for pedestrians, according to a new study.
- There were 5,433 pedestrian fatalities in Florida from 2008 to 2017.
- In total, drivers in the United States struck and killed more than 49,300 people between 2008 and 2017.
You may be risking your life by just taking a walk down a Florida street.
The Sunshine State has been deemed the deadliest state for pedestrians, according to a study from Smart Growth America and National Complete Streets Coalition. The “Dangerous by Design” study used a measure called “PDI,” or “Pedestrian Danger Index,” to determine which U.S. cities are most hazardous for pedestrians.
The Orlando metropolitan area was ranked the least safe, with Daytona Beach falling not far behind at number 2. In South Florida, the tri-county area (Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach) was categorized as the 14th most dangerous area for pedestrians. In total, nine Florida regions were among 20 U.S. metro areas declared unsafe and deadly for pedestrians. The top six most dangerous areas for pedestrians were also located in Florida, according to the study.
Other cities that were pinpointed as deadly places for pedestrians were Bakersfield, CA (number 7), Albuquerque, NM (number 17), and Jackson, MS (number 10.)
The PDI, the measure the study used to calculate the rankings, is based on “the number of people struck and killed by drivers while walking, controlling for the number of people that live in that state or metro area and the share of people who walk to work,” according to the study. Information and data was retrieved from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a national database that quantifies all fatal traffic crashes.
The study also included several alarming statistics and figures about pedestrian fatalities, including that drivers struck and killed more than 49,300 people between 2008 and 2017.
“It’s the equivalent of a jumbo jet full of people crashing—with no survivors—every single month,” the report said.
Pedestrian deaths have been steadily rising since 2009, the report says. From 2008 to 2017, pedestrian deaths increased by 35.4 percent.
There were 5,433 pedestrian fatalities in Florida from 2008 to 2017, giving the Sunshine State a PDI rating of 182. Alabama, Delaware, Louisiana, Mississippi and Georgia followed with PDIs of 145, 127.1, 125, 122.7, and 117.33, respectively.
Why is this happening, and why are the numbers so morbid?
“We’re not walking more, and we’re only driving slightly more than we were back in 2008. What is happening is that our streets, which we designed for the movement of vehicles, haven’t changed. In fact, we are continuing to design streets that are dangerous for all people,” the authors of the study said.