A report from the Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that U.S. pedestrian fatalities in 2019 reached their highest number in over 30 years. According to the report, Florida joined a group of four other states that represent 47% of the total pedestrian deaths across the nation.

The first half of 2019 saw more than 350 people killed by vehicles while they were on foot in the Sunshine State. As reported by Vox Media’s Curbed, a local professional urban planner has noted that the design concept behind Florida’s roadway system reflects a primary goal of maximizing vehicle speeds and limiting congestion.

When and where pedestrian accidents occur

Based on data compiled by the GHSA, the majority of pedestrians struck by vehicles were crossing the street at night and on local roads. As reported by ABC Action News, pedestrian fatalities from nighttime collisions grew by 67% over the past 10 years. In comparison to the nighttime increase, the rate at which pedestrians died during the day grew by 16%.

Impaired, distracted and speeding motorists are contributing to the overall increase in fatalities. Although daytime drivers face numerous external distractions, the growing number of nighttime fatalities points to specific risk factors for pedestrians.

Possible causes for the increase in nighttime fatalities

A greater number of after-dark impaired motorists may cause more accidents at night. Individuals leaving work may decide to stop at a restaurant for dinner and drinks. The National Safety Council notes that the greatest number of pedestrian fatalities occur on Saturday nights and in urban settings.

High-speed driving occurs more often during the night because of less traffic. An inattentive, fatigued or impaired motorist may not always check the sidewalks before braking or accelerating at an intersection. Cities providing increased visibility and lighting at intersections may help limit the number of pedestrian accidents.