Pedestrian Safety Groups Making a Difference in Florida

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Florida is one of the most dangerous states for pedestrians. In 2016, Florida cities accounted for eight of the top 10 most dangerous metropolitan areas for walking in the United States. The Fort Lauderdale area came in at number 11 in the country’s most dangerous places for pedestrians. Now, Floridians are taking action against pedestrian deaths by forming traffic safety coalitions in the hopes of making Florida’s roadways a safer, more efficient transportation system for all.

Florida’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Coalition

This coalition focuses specifically on safety strategies for pedestrians and bicycles in Florida. March is Florida Bicycle Month; an occasion Governor Rick Scott has marked with a proclamation stating the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) commitment to biker safety in the Sunshine State. The Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Coalition partners with FDOT, the University of South Florida, the American Automobile Association, AARP Florida, and dozens of other organizations to help improve pedestrian safety.

The coalition also created a safety plan to help the state implement a five-year strategy to achieve the state’s mission of zero traffic fatalities. The safety plan provides a structure that will help Florida identify dangerous areas, implement solutions, evaluate outcomes, and continue to make improvements to help achieve the goal of total pedestrian and bicyclist safety. The coalition’s “Alert Today Alive Tomorrow” campaign serves to spread awareness of pedestrian safety and encourage drivers to pay attention.

Florida Lane Departure and Intersection Coalition

The Florida Lane Departure and Intersection Coalition came up with a strategic highway safety plan and long-range transportation plan to increase occupant protection, commercial vehicle safety, work zone safety, and to prevent wrong-way driving. It focuses specifically on preventing lane departures and intersection accidents. Intersection accidents are very common in Florida’s metropolitan areas, including Fort Lauderdale.

Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users at intersections, and often suffer serious to fatal injuries from motorists who fail to come complete stops, check for crossing walkers, and yield the right of way. Improving the inherent design of Florida’s intersections could serve to reduce the number of vehicle-pedestrian and vehicle-vehicle collisions. Different roadway designs could also help prevent lane departure collisions.

Florida Impaired Driving Coalition

In 2014, there were 908 alcohol-suspected fatalities and 508 alcohol-confirmed fatalities on Florida’s roadways. These reflected a 7% and 11% increase from the previous year, respectively. Many of these deaths were pedestrians, struck by suspected or confirmed drunk drivers. The Florida Impaired Driving Coalition (FIDC) aims to identify and solve Florida’s most dire impaired driving problems, as well as to develop and enforce a strategy to implement new policies and funding to minimize impaired driving accidents.

The FIDC’s Impaired Driving Strategic Plan and Strategic Highway Safety Plan include plenty of resources and statistics on serious injuries and deaths involving impaired driving. The coalition hopes to increase education and awareness of the issue and ultimately find solutions for the most pressing drunk and high driving issues in the state. Doing so would significantly increase pedestrian safety in Florida.

Safe Mobility for Life Coalition

This coalition partners with dozens of prominent organizations in Florida to improve the safety of Florida’s elderly roadway users – both drivers and pedestrians. Children and the elderly are the two populations most at risk of pedestrian accidents in Florida and around the nation. With help from this coalition, senior citizens can hope to navigate Florida’s streets and sidewalks without fear of a collision.

The Safe Mobility for Life Coalition focuses on outreach, advocacy, at-risk driver prevention and new community design features to support lifelong safe mobilization. The coalition has won a few awards and earned national mentions for its work protecting Florida’s senior citizens and other pedestrians and motorists. By improving elderly pedestrian and elderly driver safety, the coalition homes to help all roadway users in Florida.