While most Florida residents have cars or expect to use a motor vehicle to get from one place to another, many Floridians also rely on walking for exercise and for transportation. However, pedestrian accidents happen much more frequently than they should in Florida, making the state among the most dangerous in the country for pedestrians. A recent article in the Tampa Bay Times described the state as the most dangerous in the nation for pedestrians, citing a recent study from the advocacy Group Smart Growth America.
Why are pedestrian accidents so common in Florida, and what can people do about collisions with motor vehicles?
Dangers of Pedestrian Collisions in Florida
Pedestrians in Florida are regularly at risk of injury in a collision with a motor vehicle. To be sure, the article in the Tampa Bay Times reported that “Florida remains the nation’s most deadly state for those who journey on foot.” Furthermore, the rate of pedestrian accident deaths in the state are “significantly, significantly higher” than Alabama, which is the state that ranks second for deadly pedestrian collisions.
In addition to Florida having more fatal pedestrian accidents than any other state, the total rate of pedestrian collisions is rising across the country. Both 2016 and 2017 were cited as the “two most deadly years for pedestrians in the past three decades.” According to Jeff Johnson, the Florida state director of the AARP, safety advocates in Florida have long been concerned about pedestrian injury risks. As Johnson highlighted, “This sobering report confirms what we have known for years.” He went onto underscore how “older Floridians are especially at risk.”
At-Risk Groups for Pedestrian Injuries
Given that the elderly population of Florida is so high, it is particularly important for seniors and their families to recognize the high rate of pedestrian fatalities in the state. The article cites the following groups as being at particularly high risk of getting hurt or killed in a collision with a motor vehicle:
- Elderly residents;
- People with disabilities; and
- People living in low-income neighborhoods.
Preventing Pedestrian Accidents and Injuries
Cities like West Palm Beach, Tampa, Orlando, and other major cities in Florida are taking steps to institute programs designed to reduce the rate of pedestrian fatalities. However, even with programs in place in some cities, pedestrian accidents continue to occur frequently. While a collision between a pedestrian and a motor vehicle typically involves a negligent driver, filing a lawsuit cannot bring back a family member or undo serious injuries. It is important to take preventive measures. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends the following tips for pedestrians to avoid an accident:
- Follow all rules of the road;
- Obey pedestrian safety signs and signals;
- Always walk on sidewalks if they are available;
- Avoid distractions, such as talking or texting on a phone;
- Only cross streets at crosswalks when they are available, and otherwise always cross at intersections and in well lit areas;
- Do not assume a driver can see you;
- Make eye contact with drivers when possible; and
- Avoid alcohol or other substances that could impair your walking.
Contact a West Palm Beach Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Were you injured in a crash with a motor vehicle? An experienced West Palm Beach pedestrian accident attorney can help with your claim. Contact Lesser Lesser Landy & Smith PLLC for more information.