National Pedestrian Safety Month
The U.S. Department of Transportation marks October as National Pedestrian Safety Month. According to their website, “National Pedestrian Safety Month celebrates the right of everyone to walk or roll safely and reminds drivers of their responsibility to stay alert for pedestrians, cyclists, and other vulnerable road users.” This observance aims to bring awareness to the fact that walking is a part of most people's day. A pedestrian can be your neighbor, co-worker, mother, child, or spouse. A pedestrian can be anyone walking to get from one point to another.
Pedestrian Accidents in Florida
Walking as a form of transportation has increased steadily through the years. Unfortunately, so has pedestrian accidents. In 2021, Florida saw 9,552 pedestrian crashes, where 1,450 caused severe bodily injury. This is up from 2020, which reached 8107 documented pedestrian crashes. Sadly, there were 847 fatal pedestrian accidents in 2021. That is up from 2020 which saw 712 fatalities.
Smart Growth America Study
Every year, the Dangerous By Design 2022 report from Smart Growth America highlights the “preventable epidemic of people struck and killed by walking.” It is truly sobering to look at the declining pedestrian safety in the United States. Smart Growth America advocates for people who want to live and work in great neighborhoods. The authors of "Dangerous by Design 2022" say a "transportation paradigm shift" is needed in designing, building and operating streets and roads, and inertia is a primary hurdle. According to the report, “This epidemic continues growing worse because our nation’s streets are dangerous by design, designed primarily to move cars quickly at the expense of keeping everyone safe. The result in 2020 was a significant increase in all traffic fatalities, even with less driving overall due to the pandemic.”
The report shows that over 6,500 people were hit and killed while walking in 2020 – a 4.5% increase over 2019. That is 18 pedestrians a day and 125 pedestrians a week. And although 2020 is the last year for which complete federal data is available, early estimates for 2021 place pedestrian deaths at nearly 7,500. If these numbers are correct, that would be a historic increase and a 40-year high.
The Top 20 Most Dangerous States for Pedestrians
This map highlights the 20 most dangerous metropolitan areas in the United States for people walking between 2016 and 2020, ranked by average yearly deaths per 100,000 people. The report goes on to say “As in previous versions of this report, metro areas within the southern half of the US account for a sizable portion of the top twenty most dangerous metro areas in the nation. The top 20 list includes 15 of that region’s major metro areas, including seven from Florida.”
View the full report here: https://smartgrowthamerica.org/dangerous-by-design/#custom-tab-0-dfb73992c4f3855cd9d2b90982a7cc97
How Walkable Is Your Community?
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has created a walkabllity checklist to help you determine how safe your neighborhood is for pedestrians. The first step to the checklist is picking a place to walk. This can be a typical walk to the store, a route to school, or to church. The second step involves the checklist. The checklist document asks that you “read over the checklist before you go,and as you walk, note the locations of things you would like to change. At the end of your walk, give each question a rating. Then add up the numbers to see how you rated your walk overall. After you've rated your walk and identified any problem areas, the next step is to figure out what you can do to improve your community's score. You'll find both immediate answers and long-term solutions under "Improving Your Community's Score..." on the third page.”
To download and print the checklist, click here: https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.gov/files/walkingchecklist.pdf
Pedestrian Safety Tips from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
When pedestrians are alert and drivers maintain safe speeds, accidents are prevented and neighborhoods become safer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has compiled safety tips for both drivers and pedestrians.
8 Safety Tips for Drivers
- Look out for pedestrians everywhere, at all times.
- Use extra caution when driving in hard-to-see conditions, such as nighttime or bad weather.
- Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk.
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop well back from the crosswalk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see the crossing pedestrians so they can stop too.
- Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. There may be people crossing where you can’t see.
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
- Follow the speed limit, especially around people on the street, in school zones and in neighborhoods where children are present.
- Be extra cautious when backing up and look for pedestrians.
8 Walking Safety Tips
- Follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
- Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available.
- If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
- Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections. Look for cars in all directions, including those turning left or right.
- If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely; continue watching for traffic as you cross.
- Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in parking lots.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your abilities and your judgment.
- Embrace walking as a healthy form of transportation - get up, get out and get moving.
Learn more here: https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/pedestrian-safety
South Florida Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, contact an experienced South Florida personal injury lawyer. Robert Gluck has been assisting victims of pedestrian accidents for nearly 30 years. His firm offers a free consultation to help you get all your questions answered. Click here to set up your free consultation or email him directly at [email protected].