It seems like every time you turn on the news, there is another story of someone getting hit by a car in South Florida. Just this week, a couple in their eighties were struck and killed by a car in Fort Myers, and two University of Miami students were struck and killed while crossing the roadway in Pinecrest. It’s a sad and scary occurrence, and unfortunately, it happens too often.
The Incidence of Pedestrian Accidents
Some statistics regarding pedestrian accidents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) include:
- Over 4,400 pedestrians were killed in 2011 in motor vehicle accidents.
- Pedestrian-car accidents accounted for 14 percent of the accident-related deaths in 2011 even though they are only a small fraction of the thousands of motor vehicle accidents that occur each year.
The good news is that the number of pedestrian fatalities has dropped since 2002. The bad news? The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) explains, “A drop in pedestrian fatalities in recent years may reflect the fact that people are walking less.” In other words, the risk is just as high as ever, it only that fewer people are choosing walking as a mode of transportation.
Who is most at risk?
Obviously, anyone who walks on busy streets in Plantation and other South Florida cities is always at risk for being hit by a car. The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) provides some statistics from 2009 that can give us insight as to who is most susceptible for these types of accidents.
Those who are most at risk:
- are male (69 percent of victims);
- walk in urban areas (72 percent of accidents);
- walk on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday (16 percent, 17 percent, and 15 percent, respectively); and
- walk at night (70 percent of accidents).
Actually, even just living in Florida puts you more at risk. The PBIC explains that Florida is one of the top four states with the highest rate of pedestrian accidents in the nation. Part of the reason for this is the year-round pleasant weather which facilitates time spent out of doors.
Ways to Prevent Being Hit by a Car
It’s imperative to take extra precautions to avoid being hit by a car. You cannot always count on the drivers to see you, nor can you assume they will be following traffic safety laws.
In order to decrease your risk of being struck:
- avoid walking in busy urban areas, especially on the weekends or at night;
- obey all the traffic safety rules;
- always use a crosswalk when available, but do not just assume the drivers will see or stop for you, be cautious and give up your right of way if you’re unsure if the car is going to stop;
- wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight if you walk at night;
- be aware of all of your surroundings (e.g., do not text and walk); and
- always use the walkways, sidewalks, and footpaths provided for pedestrians.
If your loved one was recently involved in a pedestrian accident, speak to a local attorney about your accident claim. Contact Chalik & Chalik in South Florida for a free, no-obligation consultation today at (855) 529-0269.