A national survey of traffic fatalities conducted in 2014 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ranks Florida as the second most deadly state for pedestrians. That year, 588 pedestrians lost their lives, making the pedestrian death rate per 100,000 population a staggering 2.96. The only state ranking higher was New Mexico with a rate of 3.55 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 population.
The top five state fatality rates for pedestrians were:
- New Mexico – 3.55 per 100,000 population
- Florida – 2.96 per 100,000 population
- Delaware – 2.67 per 100,000 population
- Nevada – 2.47 per 100,000 population
- Louisiana – 2.26 per 100,000 population
The top five state total fatality rates were:
- Texas – 3,538
- California – 3,074
- Florida – 2,494
- North Carolina – 1,284
- Pennsylvania – 1,195
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Inattention to surroundings from both pedestrians and drivers is a major cause of accidents. Distracted drivers often miss traffic signals and crossings, hitting pedestrians with the right of way in the process. Distracted pedestrians may ignore pedestrian signals or be unable to notice oncoming traffic until it is too late.
While distractions are a common factor in many pedestrian accidents, age is also a factor. Two age groups are at a higher risk of pedestrian injuries than any other: children and the elderly. Unsupervised children often run into the road and are difficult to spot due to their small size. Elderly pedestrians may have trouble crossing the road promptly or be unable to see traffic signals.
Low lighting is another common cause of accidents. Pedestrians should only walk in well-lit areas during nighttime and wear bright colored clothing with a light attached.
Alcohol impairment, for either pedestrians or drivers, is a major factor in pedestrian accidents. Alcohol use can cause loss of motor skills, slow reaction time, and an inattention to surroundings, all of which can have deadly consequences.
Local Government at Work for Pedestrian Safety
Broward County is focused on improving existing roadways and sidewalks in addition to adding new walkable features. One of the projects the county recently finished is the Hiatus Greenway, a five-mile extension of the Greenway Master Plan. The greenway connects the Cypress and New River Greenways with wider sidewalks, landscaping, benches, trash receptacles, and safety signage.
Local law enforcement is also helping get the message out about the dangers of jaywalking and breaking other traffic laws. In May 2016, the Broward Sheriff’s Office targeted busy intersections in 14 Broward cities, including Fort Lauderdale. Police monitored intersections and pedestrian traffic, stopping jaywalkers and other pedestrians engaging in risky behavior.
The crackdown on jaywalking is part of the statewide, “Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow” campaign. The campaign encourages government officials and citizens alike to do their part to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety. Their slogan, “Safety Doesn’t Happen by Accident” is a message spread by local media, social media, education events, and enforcement activities such as the May pedestrian safety initiative in Broward County.
Even Responsible Pedestrians Can Suffer Harm When Drivers Are Negligent
Pedestrians are at risk of traffic accidents even if they obey pedestrian signals and traffic laws. If a negligent driver causes you to suffer a serious injury while walking, call Montero Law at 954-767-6500 or fill out our online contact form. We offer free, no-obligation consultations to discuss your legal options for recovering compensation for your injuries.