According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), Florida is one of the deadliest states for pedestrian accidents.
In recent years, the FLHSMV reported that nearly 9,500 pedestrian crashes occurred. Nearly 7,300 people suffered injuries while more than 800 were killed. Unfortunately, these numbers put Florida second in terms of the highest amount of pedestrian fatalities in the country. Between 2020 and 2021, there was a 25% increase in pedestrian deaths.
An Insight Into Florida’s Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents are among the most serious and deadly. Certain factors provide insight into Florida’s pedestrian accidents. The state is the second most dangerous for pedestrians in the United States. Exploring U.S. pedestrian death figures can also give insight into these accidents.
Florida: The Second Most Dangerous State for Pedestrians
A study by a group called Smart Growth America determined that Florida is the second most dangerous state in the nation for pedestrians. Specifically, it ranks second in terms of pedestrians being killed by motor vehicles. The report examined the 20 most dangerous pedestrian areas from 2016 through 2020 and found that seven of them were located in Florida. Additionally, Daytona Beach was found to be the most dangerous place for pedestrians in the entire country.
Other areas of Florida such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale. Pompano Beach, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Jacksonville, Orlando, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Sarasota and Bradenton were also determined extremely dangerous for walking.
The study also revealed that those most likely to be killed as pedestrians live in lower-income areas. Also, in spite of fewer people driving in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an uptick in fatal pedestrian accidents; compared with 2019, 2020 saw a 4.5% increase in such deaths.
U.S. Pedestrian Death Figures
A study performed by the Governors Highway Safety Association determined that pedestrian deaths in the U.S. as a whole have increased. On average, around 7,600 people per year or 20 people per day are killed by motor vehicles while out walking. One factor in the increase in fatal pedestrian accidents is that more drivers than ever are buying larger vehicles like SUVs and pickup trucks. There has also been an uptick in speeding, distracted driving and reckless driving.
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Pedestrian-Related Laws in Florida
Pedestrians are required to follow Florida’s laws pertaining to walking on streets. They should use intersections to cross the street and follow traffic lights and signs for their safety. Pedestrians should always primarily use sidewalks for walking. If those are not available, they can use the shoulder on the left side of the road, facing traffic so that they can be seen.
Casualties Resulting from Pedestrian Accidents
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, as of 2021, deaths from pedestrian accidents have increased by 80% since 2009. Out of all fatal accidents, pedestrian deaths account for 17%. The study also showed that individuals ranging between 20 and 69 years of age are the biggest casualties.
Most pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas. Many of these tragedies happen in intersections and poorly lit areas that lack designated sidewalks. Vehicle speed is a big factor in pedestrian deaths as the faster a motor vehicle travels and hits a pedestrian, the more likely it is that the person will be killed.
Another reason why pedestrian deaths have increased over the years is that more drivers are choosing larger vehicles than ever before. SUVs have skyrocketed in popularity and have designs that often make it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians on the street. When these vehicles strike a pedestrian, they do so at a much higher point on the person’s body compared with smaller vehicles. This greatly increases the risk of death in a pedestrian accident.
Factors Leading to Pedestrian Accidents in Florida
Different factors can lead to pedestrian accidents happening in Florida. They include driver distractions, busy roads and designated crossings, disregarding traffic rules and indicators, climatic factors, excessive speed, driving under the influence, high traffic density, failure to stop or give way, executing left turns, reversing, absence of pedestrian crossings, infrastructure and road design issues and visibility issues.
Distracted driving puts everyone in danger, but it’s particularly deadly for pedestrians. If a driver isn’t paying attention to their driving and the road, they may not know when to slow down or stop to allow someone to safely cross. They also cannot control their speed while distracted, which can kill a pedestrian if an accident occurs.
Busy Roads and Designated Crossings
Busy roads are often responsible for pedestrian accidents. If there is a lack of designated crossings, it can lead to disaster. In some cases, accidents occur because of driver irresponsibility. Other times, a pedestrian might cross the street at the wrong time and end up hit by a vehicle.
Disregarding Traffic Rules and Indicators
Some pedestrian accidents occur because drivers disregard traffic rules and indicators. Others happen when pedestrians don’t proceed when it’s safe to do so. Usually, these accidents occur because drivers don’t take care to yield the right of way when a pedestrian enters a crosswalk or after failing to see someone while making a turn.
Various climatic factors can lead to pedestrian accidents or increase the likelihood of them happening. Wet, windy and foggy weather, in particular, all contribute to an uptick in motor vehicle accidents. When these incidents occur on roadways shared by pedestrians, it can result in tragedy. Pedestrians can be struck and injured or killed when drivers fail to maintain control of their vehicles.
Too many drivers travel at excessive speeds that pose higher risks of accidents. When a pedestrian gets caught in the crossfire, so to speak, the effects can be deadly. Speeding considerably over the legal speed limit makes it difficult for drivers to control their steering and brake when necessary. This is a major cause of fatal pedestrian accidents.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs makes it more likely that a pedestrian will get hit and probably killed. Impaired drivers don’t have the ability to safely control their vehicles as their judgment, coordination, reaction time and concentration are all diminished. Many pedestrians have been killed by drunk or drugged drivers while legally crossing the street.
High Traffic Density
When traffic density is high, pedestrians are at a greater risk of being involved in accidents. It means that while walking along streets and roads with higher traffic, there may not always be safe areas to cross and share the area with vehicles. Drivers may also become frustrated with the congestion and try to proceed faster or cut off another vehicle, which could also cause pedestrian accidents.
Failure to Stop or Give Way
Many pedestrian accidents occur when drivers fail to stop or yield when someone is crossing the street. Often, this happens when a driver disregards a red light or stop sign or in areas without lights that include designated crosswalks. Sadly, many pedestrians are killed as a result.
Executing Left Turns
Left turns rank as one of the top causes of pedestrian accidents. They can occur for a variety of reasons; a driver may speed up while making the turn and not realize a pedestrian is in the intersection or a blind spot may prevent the driver from seeing someone in the street. Approximately 40% of pedestrian accidents occur when a driver hits a person in an intersection while making a left-hand turn.
When a driver reverses, they must check not only in their rear-view and side mirrors but also by turning their heads. Otherwise, while backing up, they can hit a pedestrian. This can happen regardless of whether the driver is easing out of a parking spot or parking lot or reversing down a one-way street.
Absence of Pedestrian Crossings
One of the most dangerous situations for pedestrians is the absence of pedestrian crossings. When people don’t have a safe designated place to cross the street, it can have deadly consequences. In some cases, a person has no choice but to cross the road even when there’s no designated crossing area.
Infrastructure and Road Design Issues
Another factor in pedestrian accidents involves infrastructure and road design issues. According to a study, walking areas with poor infrastructure and design issues are dangerous and more likely to lead to fatal pedestrian accidents. This is because vehicles often have to cram into limited lanes alongside people on foot.
Some pedestrian accidents occur as a result of visibility issues. Pedestrians need to remain seen on the street no matter what the time. After dark, it’s wise for those walking to wear bright-colored clothing and reflectors so drivers can see them. Even carrying a flashlight or using the flashlight feature on a cell phone can help. Sometimes, the issue lies with the design of a motor vehicle. For example, SUVs and pickup trucks have designs that make it difficult to see from every angle. Those vehicles are also taller, so it’s more likely that drivers may not see pedestrians until it’s too late.
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Accountability in Florida Pedestrian Accidents
There are different potential parties responsible for pedestrian accidents in Florida. Depending on the circumstances, accountability may lie with motor vehicle operators, pedestrians or city and infrastructure planners.
Motor Vehicle Operators
In most cases, motor vehicle operators are responsible for pedestrian accidents. Whether a driver is distracted, under the influence, fails to see someone or behaves recklessly, an accident with a pedestrian can occur and leave that person seriously injured or worse.
Sometimes, pedestrians are liable or share liability for pedestrian accidents. For example, if a person crosses the street without paying attention or proceeds between parked cars, it increases the chances that they will be hit by a car. Pedestrians have to follow certain laws just like drivers to ensure their safety.
City and Infrastructure Planners
In some cases, infrastructure might be to blame for pedestrian accidents. When roads and walkways are in disrepair or poorly designed, they cannot accommodate pedestrians and make it more dangerous for walking. If a pedestrian suffers injuries or is killed in an accident directly related to infrastructure flaws, city and infrastructure planners can be held accountable.
Role of Insurance Providers and Car Policies
Insurance providers and car policies serve important purposes in regard to accidents. Pedestrian accidents are no exception. There is a specific claims process, and sometimes, certain challenges may arise.
Claims Process and Challenges
After a pedestrian accident, an injured victim can file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. The claim goes through the driver’s liability coverage to pay for the victim’s medical expenses, lost wages and other damages. Although the claims process might seem simple, there is a potential for challenges to arise. One scenario that falls under that category is a hit-and-run accident. However, even if the driver doesn’t flee the scene of the accident, the burden is still on the injured pedestrian to provide evidence showing that the driver was at fault. This is not always possible when the person has been injured.
Impact of Pedestrian Accidents in Florida
There are impacts of Florida pedestrian accidents. They include healthcare costs, emotional and psychological effects and long-term physical impairments.
After a pedestrian accident, healthcare costs can be significantly high. In many cases, the victim’s injuries are severe enough to require extensive medical treatment and ongoing care. If they have sustained a permanent injury or are rendered disabled, they have to pay medical expenses for the rest of their lifetime. This is a challenge when going through an insurance company, but an attorney can help and fight to ensure that their client gets the maximum they deserve.
Emotional and Psychological Impacts
Individuals who survive pedestrian accidents often suffer emotional and psychological impacts. It’s common for them to develop anxiety, phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They may fear going outside to walk, which can negatively affect their life.
Long-Term Physical Impairments
Many pedestrians who suffer injuries are left with long-term or even permanent injuries or physical impairments. This is an issue that stays with them for many years or even for the rest of their lifetime.
Potential Compensation in Pedestrian Accidents
When a person files a pedestrian accident lawsuit, they might recover certain potential compensation. This includes economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages in a pedestrian accident include medical expenses, ongoing medical treatment, lost wages and lost earning capacity and property damage.
Non-economic damages cannot be tied to any dollar amount, making them more complex to determine. They include things like pain and suffering, emotional distress and mental anguish.
Prevention and Safety Measures in Florida
Florida has prevention and safety measures to keep pedestrians safer. Public awareness campaigns and infrastructure improvements and initiatives aim to educate pedestrians and ensure that walking areas are safer to prevent accidents leading to unnecessary injuries or deaths.
Public Awareness Campaigns
October is National Pedestrian Safety Month. As such, the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) urges both pedestrians and drivers to always remain alert and avoid dangerous behaviors that can lead to accidents. It also has a Pedestrian Safety Awareness campaign to remind pedestrians of the best ways to walk and things they can do to remain alert and keep safe.
Infrastructure Improvements and Initiatives
Florida recently announced its commitment to using $14 billion toward the Moving Florida Forward Initiative to improve the infrastructure issue in the state. It also aims to improve safety, traffic congestion and transportation. The initiative can help keep both pedestrians and those in motor vehicles safer. Construction is slated to start in early 2025.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Pedestrian Fatality Rate in Florida?
Florida’s pedestrian fatality rate is four per 100,000 residents, making it third-highest in the country.
What Is the Deadliest Road in America for Pedestrians in Florida?
Pasco County is the deadliest road for pedestrians in Florida.
What State Has the Most Pedestrian Fatalities?
New Mexico has the most pedestrian fatalities.
What Are the Most Common Pedestrian Injuries?
Head and brain injuries are the most common pedestrian injuries.
In What City Do Most Pedestrian Fatalities Occur?
Fort Lauderdale, Florida has the most pedestrian fatalities.
How Many Pedestrians Get Hit By Cars in Florida?
Over 9,000 pedestrians get hit by cars in Florida. In 2021, 9,450 people were struck by vehicles in the state.
Is Florida Safe for Pedestrians?
Unfortunately, Florida is not safe for pedestrians. It is considered second-most dangerous for those on foot.
What Is the Number One Killer on American Roads?
Speeding is the number one killer on American roads.
Is Florida Pedestrian Friendly?
Florida is not pedestrian-friendly because it’s known for a high rate of pedestrian fatalities.
What Is the Pedestrian Fatality Rate in the U.S.?
As of 2021, the pedestrian fatality rate in the U.S. is around 7,600. The numbers have increased by 77% over the past decade.
What Type of Car Killed the Most Pedestrians?
SUVs have killed the most pedestrians in recent years.
How Many Pedestrians Are Killed Each Day in the U.S.?
Approximately 20 pedestrians are killed daily in the U.S.
What Age Has the Highest Pedestrian Death Rate?
The 60- to 64-year-old age group has the highest pedestrian death rate.
What Is Pedestrian Trauma?
Pedestrian trauma can refer to traumatic injuries people suffer after being hit by vehicles. Those injuries can be both physical or emotional/psychological.
What Are the Dangers of Being a Pedestrian?
Pedestrians face the danger of being struck by motor vehicles and suffering injuries or even death.
What Are the Risk Factors for Pedestrian Accidents?
Speed, location, vehicle size and intoxication are major risk factors for pedestrian accidents.
Cities with Most Pedestrian Accidents
Cities with the most pedestrian accidents are Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Jackson, Mississippi and Macon, Georgia.
Safest Cities for Pedestrians
The safest cities for pedestrians are Lincoln, Nebraska, Plano, Texas and Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Traffic Fatalities By City
Albuquerque, New Mexico has the highest traffic fatality rate, followed by Louisville, Kentucky, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma and Jacksonville, Florida.