According to Smart Growth America, Florida has the top ranking for pedestrian deaths. In 2016, 8 Florida cities were in the top 10. One more came in 11th. What makes Florida so dangerous for pedestrians? At first glance, it would seem to be the elderly or possibly inebriated visitors from out of town who are mainly involved in these accidents. Closer study reveals that neither is the case.
A Complicated Situation
Florida’s rate of pedestrian fatalities for older adults may be slightly higher than that of the national average, but it doesn’t account for the total number of pedestrian deaths in the state. Also, statistics show it isn’t tourists who are driving the cars involved. The transportation advocacy and research group Bike/Walk Central Florida discovered locals were involved in the vast majority of these accidents.
Another revealing finding is that the unsafe behavior of pedestrians is what led to their deaths, in most cases. These were mainly people in their 50s, who didn’t look both ways before crossing the street and often would cross streets in the middle of traffic. Distracted driving also plays a role in this.
Practicing Pedestrian Safety
There are a variety of things people can do to be safer as pedestrians:
- One of the major things is to be sure to cross the street at the crosswalk. Don’t walk through the middle of the street or in traffic. Surely, the little bit of extra time it takes to walk to the crosswalk is worth your life.
- Look both ways before crossing the street, even when you are in the crosswalk. You never know when a car is going to turn the corner unexpectedly.
- Don’t be distracted when you’re about to cross a street. There are all types of distractions for pedestrians and drivers alike. If you’re walking, look up from your mobile device when you come to a crossing. Pay attention to the traffic, so you can cross safely
- Follow the traffic rules. If the light says Don’t Walk, then stay put. If you know the traffic rules, you will be able to anticipate what a driver may do.
- Dress to be seen. If you are walking at night, wear reflective clothing. Some drivers may have a difficult time seeing you at night.
- While there has been a big campaign to deter people from drinking and driving, for decades, not much has been said about the inebriated pedestrian. Avoid alcohol if you know you are going to be walking. It impairs your judgment and can make you unsteady on your feet.
We teach our children how to be safe when crossing the street. Those same rules apply to adults. If we want to see Florida’s pedestrian death rate go down, we have to take some of the responsibility and do our part to make the street safe for pedestrians.
The law offices of Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A., are advocates for pedestrian safety. As personal injury law specialists, all too often, we see firsthand the trauma and devastation brought upon families by accidental injury or death. We offer compassionate, highly skilled legal help for those with personal injury cases. Call us at (941) 979-9010for a free consultation about your personal injury case.