Articles Posted in Pedestrian Accidents

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This is Part II of our two-part blog post reviewing why Florida has been deemed the most dangerous state for pedestrians and discussing the benefits and difficulties faced by injured pedestrians pursuing legal remedies.  As this post makes clear, pedestrian accident lawsuits often involve severe injuries and aggressive attempts by insurance companies to transfer blame to the pedestrian.  If you or a family member has been injured in a pedestrian accident in Miami, we invite you to contact our lawyers about your specific situation.

Florida Criminal Justice System Often Fails to Achieve Justice for Injured Pedestrians

If you are a pedestrian who is struck by a vehicle or a family member of someone who dies in a pedestrian accident, your grief and anguish can be intensified by a lack of justice.  Negligent drivers who cause injury to pedestrians often receive sentences in Florida that do not provide the victim and/or the victim’s family with a sense of justice.  The Orlando Sentinel article that closely analyzed pedestrian accidents in Florida reported that out of 54 criminal cases involving drivers who ran over pedestrians, motorists who caused serious injury and death faced negligible or no jail time.

The tragic story of Bobby Stout provides a telling example.  Bobby Stout was run down while walking on the sidewalk, but an Orange County circuit judge did not sentence the driver to any jail time.  The writer of the story reviewed 333 pedestrian accident deaths and 880 incapacitating injuries to pedestrians in three Florida Counties from 2007 through 2012.  Shockingly, the article reports that 80 percent of the drivers got traffic tickets for running red lights, careless driving, failure to yield, and speeding, but the typical penalty imposed was a $166 fine.

According to the article, there is rarely an additional penalty even if a pedestrian is killed in the collision.  Of the 54 motorists who were charged with more serious criminal driving offenses, only eleven received more than a year in jail.  Even more appalling, the vast majority of cases involved drivers under aggravating circumstances or with prior criminal records.

While a fatal pedestrian accident that resulted in the stiffest sentence of ten years might sound like a rare case of justice being served, this is not so clear when the circumstances of the fatal crash are considered.  The driver had a prior state prison record relating to an incident where the driver navigated his car around an officer directing traffic onto a busy sidewalk before seriously injuring a pedestrian after slamming into her.  Instead of stopping to render assistance, he fled the scene and led police on a high-speed chase.  Some of the other sentences included:

  • 25 drivers who received probation with no jail time
  • 6 people who received a few days in jail
  • 3 driver who got one to five months
  • 4 motorists who got one year in jail
  • 5 of the 54 cases still pending at the time of publication of the article

Civil Lawsuit Provides Opportunity to Hold Careless Drivers Accountable

Although legal claims for injuries suffered in pedestrian accidents can present difficult issues of proof, civil lawsuits often provide the best option for holding negligent drivers accountable for the harm they cause.  Obviously, the primary objective of a personal injury lawsuit is to obtain compensation for an injury victim, but a secondary objective is to ensure that intoxicated, distracted, and otherwise unsafe drivers are punished.

The analysis of Florida pedestrian accidents conducted by the Orlando Sentinel found that drivers were at-fault, at least in part, in 20 percent of pedestrian crashes.  The investigating officers determined that these motorists engaged in such unlawful or unsafe driving practices as speeding, running traffic lights, driving under the influence (DUI), distracted driving, failing to yield, and reckless driving.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a careless driver in Florida, you might consider the penalties imposed by a criminal court unsatisfying.  Although the principle function of a personal injury lawsuit involves recovering monetary damages to compensate the injured, civil lawsuits also serve a justice and deterrent function.  A large monetary judgment against a negligent driver can impose “financial penalties” while discouraging similar unsafe driving in the future.

Admittedly, financial compensation cannot give a parent back the love of a child or a spouse the companionship of a husband or wife killed in a pedestrian crash.  However, a loved one can obtain the financial means to help a permanently disabled family member maintain the highest quality of life and obtain a sense of closure by holding a drunk, distracted, or reckless driver accountable for the pain, emotional harm, and financial challenges caused by the driver’s irresponsible conduct.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Seeking Maximum Recovery for Injuries and Wrongful Death Suffered in Pedestrian Crashes in Florida

If you or a family member has been injured in a pedestrian accident, our Florida Pedestrian Injury Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

Sources:

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/pedestrian-deaths-central-florida/os-pedestrian-central-florida-20130703-story.html#page=1

 

 

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Florida offers enviable tropical weather, an abundance of beaches, and tourist attractions that draw visitors from around the globe.  Foot traffic is extremely common whether we are talking about University of Miami students headed to the beach or nightclubs on the weekend, tourists visiting Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, or fitness minded individuals jogging to stay in shape.  During a six year period ending in 2012, 333 pedestrians were killed in pedestrian accidents in Orlando with similar pedestrian death tolls in Miami, Jacksonville, and Tampa, which makes Florida the nation’s deadliest state for pedestrians.  This two-part blog post examines the risk of injury and death faced by a Florida pedestrian, as well as the challenges and benefits of pursuing a legal claim for injuries or wrongful death.

Florida Receives Notorious Title “Most Dangerous U.S. State for Pedestrians”

During the 2000 decade and so far this decade, the author of a widely cited study based on census data that evaluated pedestrian safety ranked Orlando as the nation’s deadliest city.  Tampa was the second most dangerous city with Jacksonville not far behind in third.  Approximately 850 pedestrians are hit by motor vehicles in Central Florida annually with about 150 suffering debilitating injuries and 40-70 dying.

While Miami has not yet been mentioned, it would be a mistake to Miami is safer.  Orlando has the second worst pedestrian fatality rate of any major metro area behind only Miami.  The main reason Orlando has garnered the title of deadliest city in America for pedestrians rather than Miami is that Miami has a higher number of walkers, joggers and runners, so the percentage of fatalities is lower based on the total number of pedestrians.

Challenges in Seeking Compensation for Injuries: Disputes over Fault

Injured pedestrians tend to suffer devastating injuries that can cause permanent mental and physical disabilities, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, loss of limbs, and internal organ damage.  These types of injuries can result in months or even years of hospital treatment and rehabilitation, as well as partial or total permanent disability.  Skyrocketing medical bills combined with the long-term disability of a primary wage earner can undermine the financial security of a family.  While a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death action might result in the recovery of much needed monetary compensation, the issue of fault often is hotly contested.

Many people might be surprised to learn that of the 1,188 serious crashes from 2007 through 2012 that resulted in debilitating injury or death to a pedestrian, pedestrians were at-fault 80 percent of the time according to an analysis by the Orlando Sentinel.  When a pedestrian is hit by a car, the insurance company for the motorist will routinely attempt to blame the pedestrian.  The insurance carrier for the driver might argue the pedestrian “darted” into a roadway with a high speed limit, so the driver did not have a reasonable amount of time to stop.  The scenario can be even more complicated when the pedestrian is wearing dark clothes at night.

Insurance companies usually attempt to shift responsibility for causing a pedestrian-auto collision to the person on foot.  If the insurer for the driver is able to convince the jury that a pedestrian failed to take reasonable care for his or her own safety, the amount of the pedestrian’s recovery will be reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault assigned to the pedestrian.  If a pedestrian suffers a traumatic brain injury that results in damages amounting to a million dollars, the amount the pedestrian would actually receive would be reduced to $800,000 if the jury apportions fault 80 percent to the driver and 20 percent to the pedestrian.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Seeking Maximum Recovery for Injuries and Wrongful Death Suffered in Pedestrian Accidents in Florida

If you or a family member has been injured in a pedestrian accident, our Florida Pedestrian Accident Injury Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

Sources:

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/pedestrian-deaths-central-florida/os-pedestrian-central-florida-20130703-story.html#page=1

 

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Parking lots are spread across the United States, and especially concentrated in bustling South Florida.  Parking lots can be found near shopping centers, businesses, schools, beaches, hotels, apartment complexes, and many more high traffic areas.  An astonishing one out of every five motor vehicle accidents takes place in a parking lot.  Recent studies show that the number of pedestrians injured in parking lots is on the rise.  In fact, about 20 percent of all pedestrian accidents now happen in the parking lots of malls, shopping centers, supermarkets, and big box stores.

Child Victims

            Many pedestrians killed in parking lot accidents in Miami are children between the ages of five and nine.  More than 22 percent of all fatal child traffic crashes were pedestrians.  Most of these accidents happen when drivers fail to see children while backing up in their vehicle.

Causes of Parking Lot Accidents

              There are several common causes of parking lot accidents, including:

  • Drivers enter parking lots with an eye on spotting a vacant space, and often neglect to watch for other drivers or pedestrians who are on the move.
  • Many drivers will pull head in to a parking spot, which requires they back out upon leaving. Blind zones are created by other vehicles and the parking lot structure that may obstruct the driver’s view and allow pedestrians to be hit while attempting to navigate the parking lot.
  • Traffic laws are not enforceable inside parking lots, leading to reckless driving and confusion.
  • Parking lots are often congested, which leads to increased pedestrian accidents.

Dangerous Parts of a Parking Lot

            There are several areas within parking lots that pose excess danger, including:

  • Places with low or dim lighting that can result in pedestrian accidents, as well as criminal activity and slip and falls.
  • Parts of the parking lot where snow or ice accumulates, causing cars to slid into pedestrians or pedestrians to fall.
  • The exit of a parking lot, as vehicles may pull out quickly without checking for pedestrians or approaching cars.

Tips for Staying Safe in Parking Lots

            Observing the following safety tips can help to keep drivers and pedestrians alike safe in parking lots:

  • Watch closely for pedestrians when backing out
  • Watch closely for cars backing out if you are a pedestrian
  • Turn on your headlights to maximize visibility
  • Stay within recognized foot paths when walking
  • Do not text while walk and use marked crosswalks
  • Park in well lit areas
  • Comply with all posted signs

If you are injured in a pedestrian accident in a parking lot, the driver and owner of the parking lot could be liable for your damages stemming from the accident.  Contact a licensed attorney to explore your recovery options.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Aggressive Representation for Pedestrian Accident Victims

            Pedestrian accidents can have devastating consequences.  No one travels to a shopping center expecting to be hit by a car, yet these sorts of accidents happen every day.  If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, the Miami Personal Injury Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. are here to help.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has handled a wide variety of personal injury claims across South Florida.  Our dedication and talent has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Allow our experienced attorneys to mount your successful personal injury case.  Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

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The weekend of March 21, 2014 proved deadly for South Florida walkers after two adults and a child died and three other individuals were injured by car crashes. Our Miami personal injury lawyers know how these deaths have sadly become a part of South Florida’s lethal history for walkers:

• On a Friday night, in Coral Springs, two men were crossing North University Drive around 9 p.m. They were midway across when they were hit by a vehicle. Jose Gutierrez, a 22 year old young man, died instantly as a result of his injuries, while 20 year old Tyler Sanders-Nielson was airlifted to Broward Health North in Deerfield Beach with life-threatening injuries.

• Twenty-four hours later, four year old Abdallah Staih, his mother Natalie Munzer Alja’Ouni, and eight month old brother Ahmad Staih, were walking along the sidewalk on Pine Island Road in Sunrise. The two young boys were riding in a dual stroller. A driver, who was attempting to avoid collision with another vehicle, lost control and hit the family. The stroller was impacted heavily, and four year old Abdallah was killed. Abdallah’s mother and brother were sent to the hospital, were both are said to be in stable condition.

• On Sunday afternoon, 19 year old Jacqueline Elizabeth Postrel-Jambor was skateboarding in North Miami Beach along Northeast 23rd Avenue. A Ford sedan traveling on Northeast 137th Street fatally struck the young woman.
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As of 2011, the Miami/Fort Lauderdale/Pompano region of Florida was named as the fourth most dangerous metropolitan area in the nation for pedestrians to move about, according to Transportation for America. South Florida has a large elderly population, and Miami-Dade County has the largest amount of elder pedestrian with vehicle accidents in the state. Our Miami personal injury lawyers understand that efforts have been made to make South Florida safer for our elderly population, but such efforts have not proven to be successful.

As people grow older, their ability to move, see and hear becomes a limitation on their activities of daily life. The elderly feel healthier in today’s world than they did ten, twenty or even thirty years ago, so many of these individuals are choosing to live in their own homes as opposed to assisted living facilities. While assisted living facilities offer care in helping the elderly walk down the street to the market, or for simple exercise, many elderly individuals living in their own homes do not have this luxury.

What Can Be Done To Limit Elderly Pedestrian Accidents

There are a variety of safety measures that can be taken in South Florida to help prevent our elderly population from suffering significant injuries and even death from accidents, whether they are hit by a cyclist, or by a motorist. The measures listed below, if followed, could be a step in the right direction in preventing tragic, unnecessary injuries and deaths.
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Transportation for America, a group that advocates for the rebuilding of our nation’s road infrastructure, has named four Florida metropolitan areas at the top of the country’s 52 most dangerous large metros for pedestrians: Orlando-Kissimmee, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Jacksonville and Miami-Fort Lauderdale.

Nearly 50,000 pedestrians died in the United States from 2000 to 2009. This is the equivalent of a full jumbo jet crash every month. Florida suffered 5,100 pedestrian deaths during the period, giving the state the highest Pedestrian Danger index in the nation.

Vehicle Fatality Rates Down

Although Transportation for America’s “Dangerous by Design” report states that overall traffic fatality rates have gone down across the nation, it also found that pedestrian fatalities have decreased only half the rate of motorists and passenger fatalities. In fact, in 15 of the largest metro areas, death rates for pedestrians have increased.

Vehicle Transportation Given Priority Over Pedestrians

According to einnews.com, the reason why Florida ranked so badly is the state’s rapid growth during the last 50 years. For example, the unprecedented growth in areas of Central Florida has given priority to people traveling long distances between home, school, work and errands, therefore designing easier routes for cars, trucks and buses and not for pedestrians.

According to statistics from the Florida Department of Transportation:

  • 22.7% of all traffic crashes, fatalities, and injuries involve pedestrians
  • and bicyclists
  • 48% of pedestrians are killed when crossing the road, but not at an
  • intersection
  • 43% of pedestrian traffic fatalities occur at night on illuminated streets
  • 40% of all pedestrian fatalities are alcohol related.

South Florida Not Far Behind

South Florida continues to be a place where pedestrians get killed almost on a daily basis. Most recently, a 58-year-old man was killed as he crossed a street in Fort Lauderdale last weekend. According to miamiherald.com, Lawrence Weir of Lauderdale Lakes was crossing Northwest 31st Avenue near 13th Street just before 7 pm Saturday when he was struck by a 2003 Dodge Ram 2500. The driver, Donald Evans, stopped and waited for police to arrive. Unfortunately, Mr. Weir was pronounced dead at the scene.

Additionally, an elderly woman lost control of her SUV and hit another pedestrian, this time in Miami. The accident happened in the parking lot of the Seventh Day Adventist Church on North Miami Avenue just as service let out, stunning parishioners. Fortunately this pedestrian survived and was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he is still recovering from his injuries. The elderly driver was given a citation.
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The Florida Department of Transportation and local law enforcement are launching a public safety campaign in Miami Dade and Hillsborough counties to raise awareness for the need to increase safety for pedestrians and bicyclists alike. According to carrollwood.patch.com, Hillsborough County has already had 16 pedestrian and eight bicyclist deaths in 2012, and is on pace to match or top the statistics for 2011, when 30 pedestrians died on county roadways.

As we reported in a recent post, Orlando, which is not located in either of these two counties, is the deadliest city for pedestrians in the country. The Tampa Bay area in Hillsborough County is 2nd only to Orlando when it comes to pedestrian deaths in the nation. Just to give an idea of how bad the situation is in the Tampa Bay area, Major J.R. Burton, from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said in a recent press conference that if the Tampa Bay area were a state, it would be the 16th most dangerous state in the country for pedestrian deaths per year.

Not that things are much better in Miami Dade County…As we recently reported, six pedestrians were killed in the streets of Miami in one weekend alone. (See post dated 07-10/2012).

The campaign will include public service announcements highlighting the need to increase safety for pedestrian and bicyclists, as well as a law enforcement component consisting of officers citing motorists as well as pedestrians, for right of way and other violations.

According to statistics from the Florida Department of Transportation:

  • 22.7% of all traffic crashes, fatalities, and injuries involve pedestrians
  • and bicyclists
  • 48% of pedestrians are killed when crossing the road, but not at an
  • intersection
  • 43% of pedestrian traffic fatalities occur at night on illuminated streets
  • 40% of all pedestrian fatalities are alcohol related.

Another Pedestrian Tragedy in Miami

According to cbslocal.com, a Miami Dade judge scalded a Delray Beach resident who stood before her accused of DUI with serious bodily injury to another person, leaving the scene of a crash with an injury, driving with a suspended license and DUI with damage to property or a person.

According to police, 33-year-old Robert Sinn was driving drunk on Biscayne Boulevard and NE 64th Street when his Chevrolet Impala jumped the curb, knocked down a pole and struck a pedestrian standing on the side walk. The victim, Jermaine Todd Campbell, 40, was thrown about 30 feet in the air and was subsequently found wrapped around a bus stop pole near the scene.

Apparently Mr. Sinn did not like that Mr. Campbell was standing in the way of his out of control vehicle because he got out of his car, yelled at Mr. Campbell, returned to his vehicle and left the scene. Thankfully, he was stopped soon thereafter by an alert motorist just a few blocks away.
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At times it feels like an epidemic: so far six pedestrians have been killed in the streets of Miami in one week.

Three Family Members Killed Outside Marlin Stadium

Three family members were struck and killed on July 3, 2012, by an out of control minivan just outside Marlins stadium in the 1700 block of NW 7th Street. According to CBSlocal.com, police are investigating whether 67 year old Raul Ortega Arias, who also died in the accident, suffered some kind of medical condition before losing control of his 2006 Dodge Caravan. He run on to the sidewalk, where he struck a grandmother and three children walking to their car after watching the Marlin’s game. Esther Terrero de Diaz, 53, Franklin Diaz, 14, and Adriana Diaz, 13, were struck and killed, while 10 year old Magdeline Diaz is still recovering from her injuries at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Two Church Officials Struck Outside Jumbos Restaurant

Meanwhile, on the night of July 8, 2012, two church officials were killed by a drunk driver that run his car into Jumbos, a popular local restaurant. Aljo Hamlin, 63, and Wilton Thomas Harris, 61, were killed last weekend as they dined at Jumbos. About 11 people were inside the popular Liberty City eatery on Saturday night when tragedy struck.

According to nbclocal.com, police have charged 53 year old Antonio Lawrence with two counts of DUI manslaughter after he lost control of his pick-up truck and slammed it into a truck parked outside the restaurant. This second truck then crashed thru the restaurant’s entrance, striking one of the victims and throwing him inside after running over and killing the other victim. Both men were long time customers and friends of the restaurant’s owner, Bobby Flam, who organized a community gathering Sunday afternoon to remember the victims.

Homeless Man Killed by Hit & Run Driver

Finally, police have identified another pedestrian struck and killed at around 5:00 a.m. that same day near North Miami Avenue and 79th Street. The victim, Carl Jones, was a homeless man attempting to cross 79th Street. Surveillance cameras caught the moment when a dark colored car struck Mr. Jones and kept going. Police are looking for a black Pontiac or another similarly colored vehicle for this accident.
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The South Florida hit and run epidemic continues, this time claiming the life of an innocent 5 year-old girl riding her tricycle in front of her trailer home. Thankfully, those responsible for her death have been arrested by police.

According to sun-sentinel.com, 5 year-old Yanelle Lucero was riding her bike on Sunday afternoon when she was struck by a 1997 GMC Van driven by Erik Garcia, a Mexican citizen who has been charged with failure to remain at the scene of an accident involving death, failure to use due care while operating a vehicle and driving without a drivers license.

Apparently, the accident occurred within the confines of the Pan American mobile home park where the victim lived. According to witnesses, the van was going fast, despite the posted limits and speed bumps typically present in trailer parks.

Police also arrested Pompano Beach resident Mario Argumedo in connection with the accident. Mr. Argumedo, who was initially a passenger in the GMC Van, lent it to Mr. Garcia, despite knowing that his friend did not have a valid drivers license.

Not Enough Sympathy to Stick Around

Police say that after seeing what happened, Mr. Argumedo carried the little girl back to her mother and insisted that she take the child to the hospital herself instead of calling rescue personnel, allegedly because it would take emergency services too long to get there. Also thinking that she could get help faster, the victim’s mother, Katherine Diaz, put the child in her own car and took off. While on their way to the hospital, Ms. Diaz pulled to the side of the road and called Fort Lauderdale fire rescue. Unfortunately, by the time they arrived at Broward General Medical Center, Yanelle was dead.

Despite his apparent gesture of sympathy for the victim, Mr. Argumedo did not hesitate to drive away in the van, which is why he has been charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving a death, tampering with evidence and allowing an unlicensed driver to operate a vehicle in his possession.
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Given the high incidence of pedestrian related accidents we have in Miami, as well as how often I write about pedestrians and cyclists getting killed by cars in our city, this article immediately caught my eye. According to autoblog.com, Volvo has just come out with a pedestrian detection system and an air bag to help protect those pedestrians that end up getting struck by the car despite the detection system. These new safety features are initially available on Volvo’s five door V40 model.

The pedestrian detection system is very similar to those systems already present in other luxury models (some Mercedes Benz models have it) that stop the car when they detect that the vehicle in front has stopped. The difference here is that the system is designed to stop the vehicle when a pedestrian is detected. On the other hand, the air bag for pedestrians deploys from a cavity that expands the width of the car in the area under the hood, close to the base of the windshield. As it deploys, the air bag covers the windshield, softening the impact of people who end up hitting the windshield after being struck by the car.

Kudos to Volvo! As a very concerned South Florida resident, a place where pedestrians are treated like moving targets, I hope the system proves as effective as the company hopes and that it becomes a standard safety feature, forcing the rest of the automotive industry to catch up as fast as possible.

Pedestrian Fatalities on the Rise in Florida

The State of Florida ranks as the 2nd state (closely behind California) with more pedestrian fatalities in the nation. The latest statistics available (2009 – 2010) show that there was an increment of 3.53 percent in the number of pedestrians killed in our state from 2009 (484) to 2010 (499). However, both the number of pedestrians injured and the number of pedestrian crashes decreased from 2009 to 2010. In 2009, 7,676 pedestrians were injured, while 7,290 were injured in 2010.
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