Pedestrian fatalities made up 22% of the total traffic crash-related fatalities throughout Florida in 2021, resulting in 817 deaths.
In Escambia County, traffic crashes remain a primary public safety issue. Recent reports show that Escambia County is among the top 25 Florida counties for pedestrian accidents. In fact, pedestrian crashes went up by 10.1% from 2020, and 47.1% of those crashes were fatal.
Who Is at Most Risk?
A pedestrian is any person on foot, walking, running, jogging, sitting, or lying down involved in a motor vehicle crash. Most of us are pedestrians at one time or another—some daily—putting us all at risk for accident-related injuries.
The most significant fatalities occur between 6 PM and 9 PM. However, the greatest number of pedestrian accidents occur between 3 PM and 6 PM. Pedestrians are also most likely to be injured by a light car, though most pedestrian deaths occur from truck-related accidents.
Factors involved in pedestrian accidents include but are not limited to, in order of occurrence:
- Failure to yield the right of way;
- Improper crossing of a roadway or intersection;
- Being on the road improperly, either by standing, lying, or playing in the course of oncoming traffic;
- Lack of visibility due to dark clothing, lack of lighting, etc.;
- Darting or running into the road;
- Driver or pedestrian under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medication;
- Failure to obey traffic signs, lights, or officer directions;
- Inattentive drivers and pedestrians;
- Traveling on prohibited roadways;
- Physical impairment;
- Emotional disturbances; and
- Electronic devices.
Other reasons for a spike in pedestrian accidents and deaths are multi-faceted. They include an aging population, the ballooning size of SUVs and trucks, an increase in drunk driving, aggressive drivers, and a growing sense of frustration and anger following the pandemic. But as statistics show, pedestrian accidents can happen for any reason.
Pedestrian Safety Tips
We all deserve a safe space to walk and enjoy the outdoors without fearing injury. While pedestrian accidents are sometimes unavoidable, here are tips to keep you safe while enjoying all Escambia County has to offer.
Nine Walking Safety Tips
To stay safe as a pedestrian, follow these safety tips:
- Follow the road rules and observe street signs and signals.
- Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways or backing up in parking lots.
- Remain on sidewalks as much as possible.
- If you can’t walk on a sidewalk, walk facing oncoming traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
- Cross all streets using crosswalks or intersections. Look for vehicles in all directions before crossing and as you walk, including cars turning left or right.
- If a crosswalk or intersection is unavailable, locate a well-lit area offering the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic you are sure will allow enough time to cross safely, and continue watching for traffic as you walk.
- Increase your visibility at night by carrying a flashlight and wearing reflective clothing, such as a reflective vest.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your abilities and judgment.
- Avoid using electronic devices like earbuds while walking. They can cause distractions and mask street noise that can indicate oncoming traffic.
While some accidents are unavoidable, following these tips can help prevent you from becoming a victim of a pedestrian accident.
Nine Safety Tips for Drivers
There are a number of things drivers can do to prevent accidents as well:
- Watch out for pedestrians everywhere, always as you drive.
- Be extra cautious and look for pedestrians when backing up.
- Slow down and prepare to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk.
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, stopping at some distance from the crosswalk to allow other vehicles to see the crossing pedestrians so they can stop.
- Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. They may have stopped to allow people to cross that you can’t see.
- Use extra caution when driving in hard-to-see conditions, e.g., nighttime or bad weather.
- Avoid using electronic devices like earbuds or cellphones while driving. They can cause distractions and contribute to unfocused driving.
- Follow the speed limit, especially around people on the street, in school zones, and in neighborhoods where children are present.
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Walking confers benefits beyond personal and physical advantages. Safe walking conditions can enhance local economies and boost social and community engagement. Let’s put people first and encourage safe, responsible pedestrian and driver behavior on our walkways and roadways.
Do You Have a Personal Injury Case?
The aftermath of a pedestrian accident can be a frightening and confusing time. At Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon, we have a dedicated team of personal injury attorneys who can help.
We’ve represented accident victims for over 100 years and offer every client our “Client Priority Promise,” assuring you we’ll work aggressively to get you the best results. If you think you have a claim, contact us at (850) 444-4878 or reach us online today for a free, no-obligation case review.