Written on Mar 8, 2023 9:05:59 AM
10 Common Reasons for Pedestrian Accidents in Florida
Topics: pedestrian accident
Did you know that Florida is home to the deadliest city for pedestrians in America? Fort Lauderdale has an average 8,000 traffic accidents each year, and that number is only climbing.
In 2020, Florida was ranked as the state with the highest number of pedestrian deaths, though it has recently fallen behind with New Mexico taking the lead. Whether it’s a result of careless driving or distracted cyclists, pedestrian safety requires more attention across the state.
Pedestrian Safety Stats in Florida
The rate of pedestrian deaths in the state of Florida has been on a steady incline for more than a decade. As more and more people hit the roads by foot, there are more opportunities for fatal accidents to occur. Poor pedestrian infrastructure, reckless driving, and a general increase in foot traffic puts pedestrian safety risks at an all time high.
The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that a pedestrian death occurs every 75 minutes in the United States, and just within the first six months of 2022, 3,434 pedestrians were killed by drivers. Nationwide in 2021 there were 7,342 pedestrian deaths as a result of traffic accidents. In Florida alone there were 899 deaths, meaning the state accounts for more than 12% of all pedestrian fatalities in the country.
10 Most Common Reasons for Pedestrian Accidents in Florida
1.) Distracted Drivers
When drivers are talking or texting on their phone, eating, applying makeup, or engaging in any other activity that takes their eyes off the road, even for just a second, they’re more likely to hit someone who has the right of way (we think it’s great that Florida has finally joined most of the rest of the country by passing stricter texting-while-driving laws). Distracted driving will impair the driver’s perception of risk, making pedestrian fatalities more likely or occur.
Speeding affects braking distance, the measurement of how far your vehicle travels during the time it takes to come to a complete stop once you’ve hit the brakes. Studies show that every time you double your speed, you multiply your braking distance by four. So, the faster you’re traveling, the less likely you’ll be able to brake in time should a pedestrian step in front of your vehicle.
3.) Driving While Intoxicated
In news that should surprise no one, DUI results in many pedestrian deaths. In fact, almost half (46%) of crashes that result in pedestrian death involve alcohol for the driver or the walker. The reason is simple: intoxication results in slowed reaction and reasoning.
4.) Traffic Volume
When there are high numbers of cars and pedestrians on the road, there is greater opportunity for accidents to occur. Urban areas tend to experience more pedestrian accidents compared to other areas as a result of a high density of vehicles and people within a central location.
5.) Failing to Stop or Yield
When a driver ignores or rolls through an intersection and fails to yield to pedestrians with the right of way, accidents leading to death often occur.
6.) Type of Vehicle
Vehicles with a low bumper will hit pedestrians at their legs in comparison to cars with a high bumper. The increase of light truck vehicles (LTVs) means that more pedestrians are being hit above their torso, which has a greater risk of throwing them to the ground where they could be run over.
7.) Poor Weather Conditions
Fog, rain, ice, and snow have all contributed to the death of pedestrians. Each can greatly reduce visibility, so much so that by the time a driver sees a pedestrian, it’s too late. Florida is no stranger to heavy rain, so drivers should be aware that slick or slippery roadways make it harder to slow down and reduce braking time.
8.) Making Left-Hand Turns
When making left-hand turns, a driver’s attention may be on navigating the intersection instead of pedestrians legally crossing the street in a crosswalk. When the driver thinks the road is clear from cars, they just might come in contact with someone crossing the road.
9.) Backing Up
Some of the most heartbreaking accidents happen at people’s homes when they back out of the driveway and hit a child, sometimes their own, that they didn’t see. Parking lot back-ups are also dangerous due to the false sense of security motorists and pedestrians feel. In fact, one of every five motor vehicle accidents takes place in a parking lot! While many of these only result in injury due to the slow speed most vehicles are moving at, death sometimes occurs.
10.) Lack of Pedestrian Crossing Devices
Flashing lights and crosswalks are excellent tools to help drivers be aware of any pedestrians in the road. Without them, drivers might not be aware of the potential to encounter an unknowing pedestrian.
Can Pedestrians Be At Fault for Accidents in Florida?
While we’ve identified some common ways pedestrian deaths occur due to driver negligence, pedestrians can be at fault or at least partially at fault as well. Here are a few examples:
- Distracted walking: Pedestrians may be so busy looking at their mobile devices or tending to a toddler or pet that they walk into oncoming traffic when they don’t have the right of way. Using headphones while walking, cycling, or running can prevent pedestrians from hearing the traffic around them, making them more likely to be fatally injured by a vehicle.
- Walking on the road: It’s always best to keep to the sidewalks unless they’re obstructed, then proceed with caution. If walking on the road is unavoidable, try to head in the opposite direction of traffic to see cars before they see you.
- Ignoring road signs or traffic lights: Some walkers behave as if they always have the right of way, even when crossing a roadway without a marked pedestrian crossing sign or disobeying traffic-control signals. The “it won’t happen to me” mentality won’t keep pedestrians safe from accidents, so it is always best to follow all safety precautions. These traffic laws are imposed for a reason, and it is to keep local residents safe.
- Walking at night without reflective clothing: Visibility is reduced at night, and if a pedestrian is wearing dark clothes without any reflective material, they may not be seen until it’s too late. According to GHSA, about 76% of pedestrian deaths that were reported with known lighting conditions occurred at night. Reflective clothing will signal to drivers that a person is nearby, even if they aren’t entirely visible.
- Herd mentality: It’s common behavior to follow the actions of a group. However, if pedestrians choose to cross a street with high risk when others cross as well, there could be fatal consequences.
- Being very young or old: While this is not a “fault,” it's a fact that young people may make mistakes due to inexperience, and the elderly may make mistakes due to confusion, or they may simply not be able to react quickly enough.
How to Prevent Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents are often avoidable. Everyone has a part to play when it comes to preventing collisions that put Florida residents in harm’s way. Here are a few tips to keep the number of fatally injured pedestrians at a minimum:
- Don’t make assumptions: Walkers, cyclists, and runners should always act as though drivers are unaware of them. While pedestrians often have the right of way, that doesn’t ensure that drivers are watching them. Instead, it’s best to keep an eye out for all incoming vehicles and stay aware of your surroundings.
- Use crosswalks: Crosswalks are there to help drivers and pedestrians stay safe, so use them! Drivers won’t always be looking for pedestrians crossing in the middle of the road, but they will keep an eye out for people walking within a designated area.
- Commit to Vision Zero: Understanding that humans make mistakes is an integral part of the Vision Zero Network. Vision Zero seeks to eliminate all pedestrian injuries and fatalities by supporting communities to build safe environments. Working collaboratively to provide reliable strategies will make a positive impact on our Florida neighborhoods.
Seek Help Following Injury or Death in a Pedestrian Accident in Florida
Whether it’s due to the number of elderly citizens residing in Florida, tipsy tourists driving under the influence, or just poor infrastructure, Florida has got a bad reputation when it comes to pedestrian accidents. Luckily Lowman Law Firm can help you with your settlement. The lawyers at Lowman Law Firm will provide you with information that will be considered when a pedestrian faces a serious injury.
Settlements can typically range from $10,000 to $60,000 for pedestrian injury cases in Florida. This can differ from person to person depending on insurance coverage, severity of injuries, and liability. Pedestrians looking for compensation after an accident may be eligible to receive payments for medical expenses, lost income, as well as funeral fees, to name a few.
If you have been injured or have lost a loved one who was a pedestrian hit by a car, our skilled bicycle and pedestrian accident lawyers are ready to fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to learn more.