Florida Ranked Second Highest State for Pedestrian Accidents and Injuries
Florida’s temperate climate makes it attractive year-round for tourism, but the summer months can be particularly busy. With the influx of travelers crowding both streets and sidewalks, it can make traffic accidents and injuries involving pedestrians more likely to occur. National traffic safety experts have recently released figures which rank Florida second highest in the country for pedestrian injuries and fatalities. The following highlights some of the common reasons as to why these accidents occur, and what you can do to protect yourself.
Florida Pedestrian Accidents
According to figures released in February of 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there were more than 600 pedestrian fatalities reported in Florida during 2015, while thousands more suffered serious injuries. This figure ranks second only to California, and is more than the surrounding states of Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana combined.
Pedestrian accidents tend to be more severe and potentially deadly, as there is little to protect victims in collisions with motor vehicles. On average, pedestrian accidents account for roughly 15 percent of all traffic deaths in the U.S., and they result in at least one fatality and more than six injuries every hour. Drivers are often to blame for these accidents, and common causes include:
- Speeding and driving too fast for conditions;
- Aggressive driving, such as failure to yield;
- Running stop signs and disobeying traffic signals;
- Driving distracted;
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
While anyone can be a victim of a pedestrian accident, the NHTSA reports that those most at risk include children and older adults aged 60 and over.
Protecting Yourself Against Pedestrian Accidents
The American Automobile Association (AAA) advises that both drivers and pedestrians are responsible for road safety and reducing the number of pedestrian accidents and injuries. Communities play a role as well, in designing streets with sidewalks, traffic signals, and crosswalks in order to be more pedestrian friendly. When walking, the following are steps you can take to protect yourself:
- Wear bright, light colored clothing to increase visibility;
- Stay in well-lit areas, and make eye contact to ensure drivers see you before crossing the street;
- Stay alert, and refrain from using your cellphone or other electronic devices;
- Avoid listening to music through earbuds while walking, which could mask sounds of an impending accident, such as screeching tires or car horns;
- Follow all traffic signals, and never assume you have the right of way;
- Keep on sidewalks when possible, and use crosswalks for crossing intersections;
- While drinking and driving is dangerous, walking while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or even prescription medication can put you at risk.
If you are injured in a pedestrian accident, have passersby notify law enforcement right away. Even in cases of hit and run, there may be eyewitnesses and video evidence which can help identify the driver.
Before making any statements to insurance company representatives or settling your claim contact the Law Firm of William E. Raikes III. Our personal injury attorney understands the serious and potentially life impacting injuries these accidents can cause, and can advise you on how to get the maximum amount of compensation you deserve. Call or contact our Ft. Pierce office online today to request a free consultation.