Pedestrians are at an increased risk of sustaining serious injuries or even death in the event of a crash. Crash numbers are down compared to 2022, but these tragic accidents remain far too common.
Everyone has a role to play in improving Florida pedestrian safety. Read on to learn more about making a difference, from advocating for safer cities to adopting better driving habits.
Overview of Pedestrian Accidents in Florida
Pedestrian accident numbers show a slight improvement compared to 2022. However, there are still thousands of preventable crashes happening.
In 2023, there were over 10,100 crashes with pedestrians causing more than 760 fatalities.
Several factors are contributing to pedestrian accidents in Florida:
- Florida roads are busy. It's the third most-populated state and ranks second for the most cars.
- Too many drivers neglect safety. Distracted driving, speeding, or drunk driving are too common.
- Pedestrians can also make mistakes. Examples include jaywalking or looking down at a phone while walking.
- Visibility can be an issue when driving at night or in foggy conditions.
- There are more SUVs than ever on the roads. Larger and heavier vehicles are more likely to cause injuries or death.
Crosswalks and Intersection Safety
Around a third of pedestrian crashes happen at intersections. What makes these spots so dangerous?
Driver errors account for a significant number of crashes. Distractions, speeding, poor visibility, and busy traffic are other important factors.
Better intersection design is a key step in improving Florida pedestrian safety. A few simple measures can make a difference:
- Signage and lighting can make people easier to see and encourage drivers to slow down.
- Single-stage crossing is safer. Timing traffic lights and beacons is important.
- A narrower lane and smaller turn radius can lower the turning speed.
- Restricting turns on red lights can prevent driver errors.
- Adding medians and islands can reduce pedestrian crashes by 50%.
Even with safer designs in place, crashes can still happen at busy intersections. As a driver, you can improve safety by making a conscious effort to slow down and watch out for people when approaching these spaces.
Driver Awareness and Education
More than half of drivers use their phones often while driving. This number shows the extent of distracted driving, a key factor in thousands of accidents.
Everyone has a responsibility to keep others safe on the road. You can start by following these simple steps:
- Reduce distractions. Use the “do not disturb” mode on your phone when you drive.
- Expect pedestrians at all intersections. Watch out for people crossing midblock.
- Follow the posted speed limits at all times.
- Be mindful of traffic laws and yield to pedestrians.
If you'd like to improve your driving habits or educate others about pedestrian safety, these resources can help:
- The Florida Pedestrian/Bicycling Safety Resource Center has some great resources about creating safer spaces.
- The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has a list of schools that offer driver improvement classes.
- If you're teaching your teen how to drive, take a look at the Teen Safe Driving Coalition's resources.
Pedestrian Infrastructure Improvements
Proper planning can make cities safer for everyone. With 68% of pedestrian fatalities happening in areas with no sidewalks, there is a clear need to design walkable cities.
Here are a few examples of measures local governments can adopt:
- Adding crosswalks to reduce midblock crossing.
- Building barriers to limit where people and bikes can cross.
- Adopting one-way traffic in some areas.
- Slowing down traffic with speed bumps or roundabouts.
- Walkable neighborhoods and car-free days can help shift the community's mindset.
- Investing in public transit can reduce congestion.
The state of Florida is investing in its infrastructure. A total of $791.3 million will go toward building rail and other transit projects to reduce congestion. The state will also spend $14 million to make drawbridges safer for pedestrians and $100 million to improve lighting at intersections.
Community Engagement and Advocacy
Change has to happen at the local level to improve Florida pedestrian safety. Law enforcement is an important piece of the puzzle. Several agencies are making a difference by increasing their presence in areas where crashes are likely to happen.
There are also several Community Traffic Safety Teams across the state. For instance, the Safer People, Safer Streets initiative is advocating for stricter penalties for texting while driving and designing pedestrian-friendly spaces in Miami.
Creating a Safer Future
You can make a difference by joining one of these local initiatives. You can also protect pedestrians by adopting safer driving habits. Simple steps like avoiding distracted driving, slowing down, and paying attention will help keep everyone safe.
If you or a loved one are the victim of a crash in Florida, it’s important to act quickly while your claim is still valid. Accident.com can put you in touch with a lawyer who understands the ins and outs of pedestrian accidents.