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FHP Writing More Tickets to Help Increase Pedestrian Safety in Florida

Although the majority of pedestrians know they should not try to cross the street in the middle of a block and most drivers realize that pedestrians have the right of way, there are still many accidents between automobiles and pedestrians, and the pedestrian is usually the one that gets the bad end of the deal when things go wrong. The Florida Highway Patrol is working with Orange County deputies and police to step up enforcement because Orange County is considered one of the country's most dangerous places for pedestrian traffic accidents.

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Orange County is not the only dangerous county in Florida: On March 15, a woman was killed in Okeechobee County as she tried to cross State Route 70 East and was hit by a car around 9:40 p.m. Because the clothing that she wore was dark colored, the driver of the vehicle couldn't see her until just at the last moment. He tried to brake and swerve, but still hit her. It's not clear who was at fault because the accident is still being investigated.

Pedestrians are often seriously injured

A person who is a victim of a pedestrian accident may suffer a number of serious injuries, such as broken bones, back and neck injuries, a serious brain injury or a spinal cord injury. Unfortunately, in many cases, such as in the incident in Okeechobee County, a pedestrian accident can turn fatal. Victims and families of victims often require legal assistance to prove liability and to seek compensation to help pay for major medical and other expenses. In Florida, even if a pedestrian enters the roadway inappropriately, the driver is obligated to keep an adequate lookout for pedestrians. Since many people are not aware of the duties drivers owe pedestrians, many accident victims may also not fully understand their rights.

Based on information from the Florida Crash Records Database, there were 499 pedestrians killed in Florida in 2010 as compared to 482 in 2009, which is a 3.53 percent increase. During the same time, the number of pedestrians injured decreased by 5.03 percent from 7,676 to 7,290. This means that while fewer people were involved in pedestrian accidents, more of the accidents were fatal. Those injured in pedestrian accidents should seek legal counsel from a personal injury attorney to learn more about their rights and to get help navigating the legal system.

Ideas for reducing the number of pedestrian fatalities

The FHP has instituted a campaign titled "Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow," and the FHP is promoting the campaign's message in a variety of ways, such as with transit advertising, enforcement activities and local education. The messaging includes tips on reducing pedestrian fatalities, such as:

  • Pedestrians should only use crosswalks
  • Pedestrians should always look before going across a street
  • Drivers should yield to pedestrians
  • Vehicles should always stop before a right turn on a red light
  • Attention should always be on the road when driving

With increased awareness and enforcement, it is hoped that the number of auto-pedestrian accidents can be reduced in Orange County and the rest of Florida. However, those injured in such accidents should consult with a Florida personal injury attorney to learn more about their options.

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