pedestrians walking across crosswalk

What Are the Deadliest Places to Walk in the U.S.?

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

At some point in each day, we all walk outside in our communities. We walk in parking lots, on sidewalks, and on busy streets. Would it frighten you to know that an average of 13 people per day are killed simply while walking their local area? 

Metropolitan and rural communities are experiencing explosive growth, and pedestrians aren’t always seen or given the right-of-way. 

California communities are no exception, leading California pedestrian attorneys to wonder:

  • Where are the deadliest places to walk in the U.S.? 
  • What are the leading factors in pedestrian deaths?
  • What Can be Done to Prevent Pedestrian Deaths?

What are the deadliest places to walk in the U.S.?

The CDC and NHTSA both report a steady annual increase in nationwide pedestrian fatalities. Interestingly, a 2019 report issued by Smart Growth America (SGA) reveals that the danger isn’t only the steady rise in pedestrian deaths, but in where the greatest percentages of pedestrian fatalities occur.   

In its findings, SGA details that the highest number of deaths occur in highly populated urban centers. The highest percentage of pedestrian deaths compared to an area’s population happen in smaller metro communities, making them the most dangerous places to walk in the United States. 

The SGA study ranked Florida as the deadliest state to walk. Florida cities held the top seven spots out of ten on the 2019 Pedestrian Danger Index. Spots eight and nine were held by Jackson MS and Memphis TN, respectively, with another Florida city, Sarasota, claiming spot 10.

What are the leading factors in pedestrian deaths?

The leading cause of pedestrian deaths is car collisions. But what factors are contributing to an increase in collisions between cars and pedestrians?

  • Outdated streets
  • Poorly designed communities
  • Prioritizing cars over people

The rapid expansion of our communities has placed more cars on roadways that are not designed to mutually support increased traffic and pedestrian safety. Further, in response to increased commuter traffic, moving cars has been prioritized over pedestrian safety. 

Roads have gone unimproved to balance pedestrian traffic against increased vehicle presence, and new communities have not been adequately designed to accommodate pedestrian traffic alongside busy roadways. 

What Can Be Done to Prevent Pedestrian Deaths?

Effectively reducing pedestrian deaths requires a three-pronged approach. Pedestrians, drivers, and community planners all need to know, understand, and implement safety measures.

Pedestrian Safety

  • obey traffic signs and signals
  • use sidewalks 
  • walk facing traffic
  • be visible, wear bright reflective clothing
  • never assume a driver sees you
  • watch for cars at driveways, intersections, crosswalks
  • don’t walk impaired by alcohol or drugs

Driver Responsibility

  • watch for pedestrians at all times, especially while backing up 
  • slow download and be prepared to stop when entering a crosswalk or turning
  • never pass a vehicle that is turning or at a crosswalk 
  • obey lower speed limits in areas of high pedestrian traffic, i.e., school zones and neighborhoods
  • don’t drive impaired by alcohol or drugs

Changes to Infrastructure

  • widen streets
  • more crosswalks
  • added sidewalks
  • new traffic signals
  • increased signage 

California Pedestrian Accident Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been injured while walking in your California community, you may have a personal injury claim and be entitled to compensation. 

California pedestrian accident attorneys will meet with you to discuss your accident and determine if there is an at-fault party. Whether your accident was caused by a negligent or impaired driver or unsafe community design, you have a right to legal recourse and damages for your injuries. 

Contact our office today to schedule a comprehensive consultation with one of our experienced California pedestrian personal injury accident attorneys. 

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.