According to the Journal of Transport and Land Use, Pensacola has been named among the top cities with fatal pedestrian crashes and one of the top cities in the country for fatal pedestrian crash hot spots.
These statistics are no surprise to Zarzaur Law, P.A. Our firm has seen a dramatic increase in calls to our office in regards to accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians. Pedestrian fatalities made up 22% of the total traffic crash-related fatalities throughout Florida in 2021, resulting in 817 deaths.
Car and truck crashes continue to be a major public safety issue in Pensacola and the rest of Escambia County.
2021 reports show that Escambia County is among the top 25 Florida counties for pedestrian accidents.
In March of 2022 alone, four people were killed crossing Escambia County roads in one weekend, which has prompted The Florida Highway to work even closer with the Florida Department of Transportation to find a way to help combat this issue, specifically in Escambia County.
Some of those changes include upgrading the standard yellow pedestrian crosswalk signs to a brighter, more visible color.
In July 2022, A woman was crossing West Cervantes Street near “S” Street at about 4 p.m. when she was hit by a car traveling westbound, according to the Pensacola Police Department. The woman sustained serious injuries.
Pedestrian safety improvements are currently being made after several fatalities in recent years. In fact, 31 accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians (and cyclists) have occurred between 2012 and 2018.
Pedestrian fatalities are becoming more common in the United States and Florida, according to a recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association.
The report crunched numbers from just the first half of 2021 and found a roughly 31% increase in pedestrian fatalities in Florida. Altogether, the state saw 444 pedestrian deaths in that time frame, which was the second-highest count in the country behind California.
Florida did, however, see the greatest difference in deaths between that period in 2020 and 2021.
The most dangerous streets for pedestrians are in Florida, followed by Alabama, New Mexico, Mississippi, and Delaware. Florida has seven of the 10 most dangerous metro areas, with Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford bearing the dubious distinction of being the most dangerous in the US.
Dangerous Pensacola intersections: Jackson Street between A street and Fairfield Drive
The roughly 5.5-mile corridor traverses a diverse and predominantly residential community between A Street and Fairfield Drive, connecting downtown Pensacola and the western portion of Escambia County. A lack of sidewalks, safe crossings, and dedicated bike facilities makes traveling the corridor challenging for pedestrians and cyclists alike.
Jay Aber, a WSP senior transportation engineer and planner of the proposed Jackson Street improvement project , said one-third of accidents along West Jackson Street involved pedestrians and cyclists. Dangerous intersections include A Street, Fairfield Drive, New Warrington Road, Old Corry Field Road, Pace Boulevard, 57th and 65th.
Proposed improvements will complement the existing communities and address safety, mobility, and sustainable, long-term economic redevelopment.
Dangerous Pensacola intersections: West Cervantes Street Corridor.
A similar project to curb accidents in the West Cervantes Street corridor is underway. Planned improvements along West Cervantes Street include constructing seven lighted mid-block crosswalks, ADA-compliant ramps, and a wider multi-use path. New traffic signals will be added at four intersections, and existing signals will be enhanced with upgraded pedestrian features.
Vehicle lane widths will be reduced, and the speed limit will be lowered to 30 mph. A raised center median with a low barrier and designated openings for pedestrians at selected locations will be constructed within the project limits. The project also includes enhanced lighting, landscaping, and irrigation improvements. In addition, crews will mill and resurface the roadway where median and signal work are performed.
All of these projects are an effort to curb the continued rise in pedestrian deaths in Escambia County.
To request traffic calming measures with Escambia County, go here >
The Causes of Pedestrian Accidents:
Many factors are involved in the rising number of pedestrian accidents in Florida. Especially considering the population, the urban design, and the number of people who walk to work, school, beaches, and other places daily. The street culture of Florida also has many people who are running, cycling, skating, or simply walking through busy streets for work, school, and other purposes; and who are most at risk for pedestrian accidents every day.
The causes of these accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Over-speeding on behalf of drivers
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Negligence while driving
- Distracted drivers on cellphones or other in car devices
- Careless pedestrians neglecting public safety
- Breaking traffic rules at intersections and traffic signals by both drivers and pedestrians
- Drivers and pedestrians distracted by cellphones and oblivious to each other could be the cause of this spike in pedestrian injuries and deaths.
SAFETY TIPS FOR PEDESTRIANS
1. Be safe and seen: make yourself visible to drivers.
2. Be smart and alert: avoid dangerous behavior.
– stay sober
– walk on sidewalks
– don’t assume vehicles will stop
– don’t rely solely on pedestrian signals, be alert to engine sounds and backup lights
3. Look before you step!
– look both ways
– don’t wear headphones
– cross streets at marked cross walks
SAFETY TIPS FOR DRIVERS
Be Alert and Watch for Pedestrians:
1. Scan the road and the sides of the road ahead for potential pedestrians or bicyclists.
2. Before making a turn, look in all directions for pedestrians crossing or bicyclists coming up the road.
3. Never drive while distracted or after using alcohol or other drugs.
4. Do not use your cell phone while driving.
5. Look carefully behind your vehicle for approaching pedestrians, especially small children, before backing-up.
6. Keep your windshield clean and your headlights turned on for maximum visibility.
Be Responsible and Yield to Pedestrians at Crossings:
1. Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, whether they are marked or not.
2. When making a right or left turn at an intersection, yield to pedestrians.
3. Do not block or park in crosswalks.
4. Be Patient: Maintain a safe speed and avoid aggressive maneuvers.
5. Never pass/overtake a vehicle that is stopped for pedestrians.
6. Follow speed limits and stop completely at STOP signs.
7. Use extra caution when driving near children playing along the street or older pedestrians who may not see or hear you.
8. Be prepared to stop for pedestrians at all times.
Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.
It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.
If you or your family member has been the victim of an auto vs pedestrian accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.