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Can Florida’s Pedestrian Accidents Be Prevented?

A Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) report released about the government gives some insight into Florida’s fatal pedestrian accidents – and offers some tools for reducing the accident rates. According to the report and according to findings reported by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 28,970 fatal pedestrian accidents and 465,000 pedestrian injuries took place in the United States between 1990 and 1994. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) reports that roughly 9% of total US pedestrian accidents and pedestrian injuries occur in Florida. Pedestrian fatalities in Florida account for about 20% of car accident fatalities and 14% of traffic accident injuries.

The CUTR report finds that pedestrians and motorists do certain things to cause many pedestrian accidents, and this suggests that many of these accidents are preventable. According to the report, crash location and age of pedestrians affect fatalities. In Florida, the youngest and oldest walkers are most likely to be involved in pedestrian accidents. Pedestrians between 65 and 74 years of age are most likely to be killed in pedestrian accidents. Pedestrians moving along the roadway with traffic, and pedestrians who are crossing a roadway far from the intersection are most likely to be involved in an accident.

The CUTR report suggests that education of motorists and pedestrians can be a useful way to reduce accidents. Enforcement of laws against reckless driving can also help curb some of the behaviours that lead to pedestrian accidents, according to the report. The report also finds that increasing “WALK” signal times, and limiting vehicle turning movements can also help reduce the personal injuries and fatalities caused by pedestrian crashes.

The report does not suggest that motorists are not responsible for pedestrian accidents. CUTR finds that motorists who speed, drive carelessly, run stop signs and stop lights, and who refuse to yield the right-of-way dramatically increase pedestrian accident rates. Poor driving does increase the odds of pedestrian accidents and also increases the odds that those accidents will be fatal.