Walking down the streets of Florida, you might feel the warm breeze, the scorching sun and unfortunately, an increasing sense of danger. It is an unsettling truth that pedestrian injuries are on an upward trajectory in the Sunshine State, making daily commutes hazardous for many.
Florida has consistently ranked as one of the states with the highest fatal auto-pedestrian crash rates. This alarming fact draws attention to the urgent need for improved safety measures on Florida’s busy streets.
Statistics uncover a distressing reality
In 2022 alone, the state saw 824 deadly pedestrian crashes, an increase from the previous year. The Governors Highway Safety Association’s report paints a distressing picture, revealing a 1% surge in pedestrian crashes from 2021 to 2022. This uptick reflects a rising problem in Florida, with 7,508 crashes occurring in 2022, up from 7,443 in 2021.
Pedestrian hazards in Lee County
The situation in Lee County, Florida, is particularly alarming. The local Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports that 205 pedestrian crashes have already occurred in the county this year, 10 of which have been deadly. By this time last year, there were only 158 crashes, marking a significant increase.
Causes of the crashes
You may wonder what leads to these crashes. Brandon Sancho, a spokesperson for the Cape Coral Police, explains that it often comes down to both the driver and the pedestrian. He encourages pedestrians to focus on their safety by taking a few extra minutes to use designated crosswalks and by wearing bright, reflective clothing.
For drivers, Sancho emphasizes the importance of awareness. He urges drivers to avoid distractions such as cell phones or radio changes. Echoing this sentiment, Cape Coral resident Roy Schoenfeld points out that phones distract a lot of drivers, with texting posing a large problem.
To combat this escalating issue, Schoenfeld advocates for more sidewalks, especially for young pedestrians, and praises the utility of bike lanes. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association’s report, increased pedestrian education can also play a significant role. As a step in this direction, Florida passed a bill in 2021 that mandates at least 25 questions on the driver’s test to address bicycle and pedestrian safety.
With consistent efforts towards improved safety measures and better public education, Florida can hope to turn the tide against this alarming rise in pedestrian injuries. Your safety, as well as that of those around you, hinges on the choices you make every day. So, stay alert, stay aware and prioritize safety on the road.