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What to Know About Pedestrian-Related Traffic Accidents

Florida is #1! Unfortunately, I’m not talking about the Gators. I’m talking about pedestrian traffic fatalities.

Not exactly a statistic to be proud of, but from 2010 to 2019, Florida topped the list. Even worse, Central Florida holds the highest ranking for pedestrian danger in the United States. Nationwide, the number of pedestrians killed by drivers has increased 45% in the same 10-year period. Of these fatalities, people aged 50 and older, and especially over 75, significantly contribute to the high numbers.

Researchers believe the reason is that this age group is more likely to experience challenges seeing, hearing and moving. Other researchers believe the increased use of trucks, SUVs and crossovers are to blame because they sit much higher than passenger cars and limit the driver’s field of vision when it comes to pedestrians. Also, because of the weight and elevated front ends of these vehicles, pedestrians are 50% more likely to die in a collision with them than a passenger car. Larger vehicles generate greater force with speed, and higher front bumpers don’t allow pedestrians to flow over the hood.

Some researchers have found a link between lower tax base neighborhoods and high pedestrian fatalities. They claim municipalities that don’t attend to road maintenance, such as installing sidewalks, marked crosswalks or other pedestrian signaling devices, have higher rates of fatalities. Neighborhoods with quality street lighting, well-marked intersections and other safe street designs suffer less instances of pedestrian fatalities.

In most motor vehicle versus pedestrian collisions, the cause is usually excessive speed, inattentive drivers, texting or DUI – not the pedestrian. Lighting is also a key factor, with 70% of fatal pedestrian accidents occurring after sunset.

There are some common sense approaches you can take to stay safe from a collision while walking. First, use the sidewalk whenever possible. If there isn’t one, walk facing oncoming traffic so you can see if a vehicle is going to leave the roadway. Second, cross at the crosswalk even if you have to take a few steps out of your way to get to it. Third, make sure you’re visible to motorists by using reflective clothing, high-visibility colors or a flashlight if you’re walking at night.

Also, keep your eyes on traffic and don’t look at your cell phone while crossing the street. Avoid using headphones or ear pods when walking along roadways so you can hear verbal warnings, horns and sirens before it’s too late.

While driving, always look out for pedestrians. Slow down when approaching crosswalks, intersections and school zones or wherever you know people will be walking. Check for people walking behind you whenever you pull out of a parking spot and, when in doubt, wherever you are, yield the right-of-way to the pedestrian. You can never be wrong if you yield.

If you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle versus pedestrian collision, call the Law Offices of Michael B. Brehne, P.A. to speak with an attorney familiar with the characteristics of these types of cases.

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Written by Michael Brehne

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