Florida consistently tops as one of the most dangerous places in the nation for pedestrian safety based on “walkability” standards. Not just one, but seven different cities in Florida rank in the top 20 most dangerous states for pedestrian fatalities, year after year. The Governors’ Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) released data showing that 899 pedestrians died in Florida road accidents in 2021, which is about 12 percent of the nationwide total.
According to Smart Growth America “Dangerous by Design” the top most dangerous areas of Florida for pedestrian are:
- Deltona, Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach (with about 4.25 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 population)
- Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater (Fourth most dangerous area)
- Jacksonville (ranked 6th)
- Orlando, Kissimmee, Sanford (8th)
- Palm Bay, Melbourne Titusville (12th)
- Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach (14th)
- Sarasota, Bradenton, North Port (19th)
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What Makes Florida Roadways So Dangerous for Pedestrians?
Several key factors contribute to the rising pedestrian injuries and fatalities in Florida. One example of a risk factor to pedestrians is the lack of sidewalks on local roads. There are also a lack of designated pedestrian crosswalks, and some of the ones that do exist have faulty equipment.
However, the biggest risk factor for pedestrian accidents is negligent driving. Drivers who fail to obey traffic signals or yield to pedestrians cause severe injuries when they hit a pedestrian. Sometimes, a driver may not have enough time to stop before hitting a pedestrian. It’s clear that Florida’s roadways are designed to be safe for cars, but not for pedestrians. This is why Smart Growth America called their study “Dangerous By Design”, as they aren’t designed to provide much protection for pedestrians.
Here are the main factors that contribute to the rise in pedestrian fatalities in Florida over the past few years.
Poor Roadway Design
The roadways in Florida are designed without much accommodation or consideration given to pedestrians. Most layouts have wide roads with small or non-existent sidewalks, crosswalks, or bike lanes. This type of design makes it easy and safe for motor vehicles to commute, but doesn’t really protect pedestrians.
What this poor design also does is increase the rate of jaywalking, which in turn increases a pedestrian’s odds of getting struck by a vehicle. Pedestrians often cross multiple lanes of traffic with no crosswalks, which can significantly increase the odds of an accident, especially when they have to run through high-speed traffic. And when pedestrians get hit by a larger SUV or truck at a high speed, there’s a high likelihood they will die or end up with catastrophic injuries.
Florida city infections are also dangerous because they are not designed to handle the heavy volume of traffic that exists these days. As a result, drivers often make abrupt and risky maneuvers at intersections, which is often where pedestrians cross. This is a recipe for disaster. If drivers took the time to slow down and think about their next move before flying through an intersection, they could drastically decrease the odds of hitting pedestrians.
Lack of Adequate Insurance Laws
Florida does not legally require drivers to carry liability insurance. This unfortunately results in many hit-and-run accidents where a driver hits someone and flees the scene to avoid a lawsuit. In a hit and run accident, the injured victim is left to either die or let their injuries worsen while they helplessly wait for delayed medical help.
Pedestrians Are More Vulnerable Since They Are Not Protected by a Car or Other Barrier
Unlike motor vehicle occupants, pedestrians don’t have seatbelts or airbags that protect them in a collision. According to statistics from the U.S Center for Disease Control and Prevention, pedestrians are twice as likely to die from a car accident than motor vehicle occupants. While pedestrians do have rights to be on public streets, they should also exercise caution and protect themselves as much as possible.
Speeding Drivers, Distracted, and Reckless Drivers
Speeding is a major risk factor for pedestrian fatalities. Research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggests that the death risk for a pedestrian struck by a car is 90% for a car traveling at 58 mph. That means a pedestrian who gets hit by a car traveling above 58% has a very high probability of dying.
Under Florida law (Florida Statute 316.183) driving at unreasonable speeds is illegal. Drivers have a duty to drive responsibly and at a reasonable speed given the current conditions, inducing weather conditions, traffic congestion, and the type of street.
Distracted driving is by far the most common cause of preventable car and pedestrian accidents. They have been growing exponentially in recent years due to all the information we must process while driving. On top of that, many drivers willingly distract themselves while driving.
A distraction is anything that takes the driver’s attention off the road; it can be manual, visual, cognitive, or a mixture of all the distractions. Texting is the most dangerous type of distraction because it involves manual, visual, and cognitive distractions. In fact, texting while driving increased the odds of an accident nearly by nearly four times.
Some drivers are just outright reckless. While driving in congested areas or special zones where children may be playing, drivers must exercise extra caution. But when a driver zips through sensitive or congested areas, they are driving recklessly. Furthermore, it’s a driver’s responsibility to adjust their speed accordingly when there are crossings in areas where pedestrians may be crossing.
Drunk driving is a form of reckless driving, too. Driving is illegal and dangerous for everyone on the roads.
How Do I Get Compensation For My Injuries After A Florida Pedestrian Accident?
The amount of compensation and injury victims can claim depends on the nature and extent of their injuries. You must also clearly define who is at fault and how much fault each party shared if there were multiple parties involved.
Under Florida Statutes Section 768.81, pedestrian injury victims may seek compensation through the following ways:
- PIP auto Insurance – personal injury protection benefits will cover up to $10,000.
- UM/UIM insurance – your underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage may apply if the at-fault driver does not have insurance or has insufficient coverage. This may also be necessary if the accident was a hit–and-run (i.e., the driver fled the scene after hitting a pedestrian)
- You may have a right to file a legal claim if the PIP or other available insurance coverage is not enough to cover the full extent of your damages. However, if you wish to do so, you have the burden of proof – that is, you must prove that the other driver was negligent and that their negligence directly caused your injuries.
Common Types Injuries That Result From Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrians are no match to a car – if they get struck by one, they will likely incur severe injuries or death. At high speeds, a large vehicle that strikes a pedestrian the following injuries that may require hospitalization and extensive medical care:
- Internal organ damage
- Nerve damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Fractures and sprains
- Traumatic brain injuries
Damages You Can Seek for Pedestrian Accident Injuries
- Reduced earning potential
- Lost income
- Medical expenses including emergency services, hospitalization, assistive devices, physical therapy, and rehabilitation
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- And more
What to Do if You’ve Been Injured in a Florida Pedestrian Accident
Both pedestrians and motor vehicle operators have rights and responsibilities while sharing the roadways. Drivers commonly fail to respect pedestrians and other roadway users. When a driver fails to exercise caution or use reasonable care to prevent harming others, it’s considered negligence. And if their negligence caused your injuries, you may be eligible to recover financial compensation.
In some cases it’s possible that a pedestrian is partially at fault for causing the accident. Even so, Florida law allows pedestrians to seek damage compensation from the responsible parties as long as they are less than 50% at fault. Contact a Florida pedestrian accident attorney if you need legal advice regarding your case.
Contact a Florida Pedestrian Accident Attorney for Help Today
If you or a loved one was severely injured or killed in a Florida pedestrian accident, you need to reach out to a skilled Florida personal injury lawyer. If your loved one died, we might be able to help you file a wrongful death claim.
With professional legal help, you are guaranteed legal advocacy that knows how to conduct an in-depth investigation to uncover all the evidence you need for a winning case. The most important aspect of any personal injury claim is establishing liability. We will also fight hard to win you the maximum compensation possible.
Call us today for your free initial consultation.