South Florida Ranks Third in Pedestrian/Car Accidents

February 26, 2010

Pedestrians beware:  Florida’s roadways can be hazardous to your health. The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Traffic Statistics Report states that 502 pedestrians were killed in Florida car accidents across the state in 2008 alone.
Furthermore, a study by Transportation for America reported that, though the national average for pedestrian deaths is 1.26 per 100,000 people, Florida averages almost 2.5 times that amount or 3.02 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people. This is due in part to the recession and cutbacks to services which require people to use more public transit or to walk more often.

If you are a walker, hiker, or biker, you might want to think about changing your habits if you live in Florida. Researchers at the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership developed the Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) in the 1990s in order to establish a level playing field for comparing metropolitan areas based on the danger to pedestrians.The most dangerous areas for pedestrians in the state are Orlando/Kissimmee (Pedestrian Danger Index: 221.50) and Tampa/St. Petersburg (Pedestrian Danger Index: 205.50), with South Florida coming in at a close third in the rankings. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach
has a Pedestrian Danger Index of 181.2. Compare this with metro-Atlanta which only rates a Pedestrian Danger Index of 108.3!

Florida’s rapid growth also contributes to the problem. When a state gets a large influx of people, things like bike paths and sidewalks get put on the back burner so the state can keep up with the traffic increases.
In a recession, budget cuts force the state to scale back even more. Transportation for America reports that although 16.9% of Florida traffic deaths were pedestrians, just 1.5% of Federal transportation funds allocated to the state are spent on pedestrian and bicycle projects.

Walkinginfo.org gives tips that can pedestrians use to avoid being a South Florida car accident statistic:

  • Wear bright/light colored clothing and clothing with reflective materials – make sure you can be seen by drivers in all types of lighting (sunny, rainy, night time, etc).
  • Don’t assume vehicles will stop; make eye contact with drivers, don’t just look at the vehicle. If a driver is on a cell phone, they may not be paying enough attention to drive safely.
  • Don’t take chances – cross at cross walks and obey traffic signals instead of trying to rush across an intersection between cars.
  • LOOK before crossing – don’t just rely on traffie signals – the driver may be rushing to beat the light.
  • Carry a flash light when walking at night.
  • Stand clear of buses, hedges, parked cars or other obstacles before crossing so drivers can see you.
  • Always walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.
  • Stay sober; walking while impaired increases your chance of being struck.
  • Don’t wear headphones or talk on a cell phone while crossing.

They also give tips to help drivers avoid hitting pedestrians in South Florida car accidents:

  • Yield to pedestrians, even if they are where they shouldn’t be.
  • Look carefully behind your vehicle for approaching pedestrians before backing-up, especially small children.
  • Scan the road and the sides of the road ahead for potential pedestrians.
  • Before making a turn, look in all directions for pedestrians crossing.
  • For maximum visibility, keep your windshield clean and headlights on.
  • Do not use your cell phone while driving.
  • Never pass/overtake a vehicle that is stopped for pedestrians.
  • Use extra caution when driving near children playing along the street or older pedestrians who may not see or hear you.

For more information about pedestrians and South Florida car accidents, contact the Florida auto accident lawyers at Joseph M. Maus, P.A.at 1-866-556-5529 or email them today.

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