Fast food restaurants and stores like Walmart are hot spots for pedestrian crashes, according to a new study released by the University of South Florida. The Center for Urban Transportation Research found that specific types of retail stores actually increase the danger to pedestrians, especially in low-income areas.
For example, in Florida, Walmarts located in low-income areas had 1.8x more pedestrian crashes than low income areas that did not contain a Walmart. Fast food restaurants in these areas also saw significantly higher pedestrian accidents. Wendys, McDonalds, and Taco Bell saw 0.69 more pedestrian accidents on average and these accidents were generally more severe.
The author of the study found that features such as drive-thrus and large retail parking lots actually increased the risk for pedestrian accidents and conflicts.
One recent accident highlights the dangers pedestrians face around these giant retail stores and fast food restaurants. In November 2018, two Auburndale women were struck and killed while walking to the Walmart for baby supplies. They were attempting to cross Berkley Road from the sidewalk when a Toyota slammed into them. The driver later said that she never the two women at all. Auburndale police spoke to eyewitnesses who told them that a van in another lane was possibly blocking the pedestrians’ view of the oncoming Toyota.
Another recent accident occurred on Homestead Road North near Plaza Drive in Lehigh Acres in September. A 50-year-old pedestrian was attempting to cross the street from the McDonald’s, when she was hit by three northbound vehicles and pronounced dead at the scene. Two of the drivers sped away from the accident, while one driver remained.
These two accidents highlight the problem pedestrians face around fast food restaurants, retail stores, and grocery stores. Every year, nearly 5,000 pedestrians are killed in traffic accidents and many of those in low income areas where infrastructures haven’t been updated to protect them. A 2016 Smart Growth America study ranked the most dangerous areas in the United States for pedestrians and Florida cities captured all 5 of the top spots.
Overall, Florida was the worst state for pedestrians with 5,142 pedestrian deaths during the decade between 2005-2014. The study’s authors cite the fact that Florida has a very car-centric design and the infrastructure doesn’t support pedestrians safely. This has created significant dangers for pedestrians in the Sunshine State.
If someone you love has been injured in a pedestrian accident in Florida, it is important to understand that although the law is on your side. You may have cause to file a claim against the negligent driver to collect money for medical expenses, rehabilitation, lost wages, and pain and suffering. As such, you need an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer on your side to fight for your rights.
At Fetterman & Associates, we hold negligent and reckless drivers responsible for their actions and for the harm they cause. Call us today at 1-561-845-2510 for a free initial consultation and review of your case. We can help you protect your loved one from further abuse and safeguard the community from abusive caregivers. Call us today!
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