Distracted Driving Threatens Pedestrian Safety:
Pedestrians are at great risk of harm on sidewalks, crosswalks, school zones and neighborhoods. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s, Traffic Safety Facts, 4,735 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 66,000 pedestrians injured in the United States in 2013. That is on an average, one pedestrian fatality every two hours; every 8 minutes, on average, a pedestrian was injured in a traffic crash in the United States in 2013. These fatalities and injuries are preventable.
It is the motorist’s responsibility to do everything possible to avoid colliding with any pedestrians, See Florida Drivers Handbook. Pedestrians also should take action to be safe.
Some safety tips for drivers and pedestrians from Traffic Safety Facts include:
- Look for pedestrians everywhere.
- Always stop for pedestrians in crosswalks or where pedestrian crosswalk signs are posted.
- Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. They may be stopped to allow pedestrians to cross the street.
- Slow down and look for pedestrians. Be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk.
- Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Follow the speed limit; slow down around pedestrians.
- Stay focused and slow down where children may be present, like school zones and neighborhoods.
- Walk on a sidewalk or path when one is available.
- If no sidewalk or path is available, walk on the shoulder, facing traffic. Stay alert; don’t be distracted by electronic devices.
- Be cautious night and day when sharing the road with vehicles. Never assume a driver sees you (he or she could be distracted, under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, or just not see you). Make eye contact with the driver as they approach.
- Be predictable. Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections when possible. This is where drivers expect pedestrians.
- If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area, wait for a gap in traffic that allows you enough time to cross safely, and continue to watch for traffic as you cross.
- Be visible. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your judgment and coordination.
It is important to remember that driving a car or truck on the public roadway poses a significant danger to pedestrians, especially children and the elderly. Stay focused on the road and be aware of surrounding circumstances. Slow down if the conditions require caution and always be on the lookout for pedestrians.
For a more detailed examination of the rights and obligations of pedestrians on the roadway, see Florida Statute § 316.130.