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Pedestrian Dangers in South Florida


Most people believe they are safe walking on sidewalks and crossing busy crosswalks. But the reality is many pedestrians still suffer injuries and lose their lives after being struck down by vehicles. That’s the alarming conclusion reached in multiple studies, one of which comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

It revealed that an estimated 8,000 pedestrians across the U.S. lost their lives in crashes involving motor vehicles in 2021. That amounts to one death every 66 minutes. In Florida, pedestrian-involved accident statistics are even more concerning.

Why Florida Is One of the Most Dangerous States for Pedestrians

For those unaware, Florida has the second-highest pedestrian death rate in the U.S. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there were more than 10,000 accidents involving pedestrians across Florida in 2022, with 800 resulting in fatalities.

In most cases, these accidents happened despite pedestrians being on sidewalks or walking in well-marked crosswalks with a “safe to walk” illuminated pedestrian signal turned on. A large proportion of those accidents occurred in South Florida, according to a study published by Smart Growth America.

The national nonprofit organization found that the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach metro area has the 14th worst pedestrian fatality rate among all major metro areas in the U.S.  To substantiate that claim, it pointed to an FLHSMV study showing an estimated 800 people suffered injuries in Fort Lauderdale and across Broward County in traffic accidents in 2022.

Of those roughly 800 or so people, around 75 died from their injuries.  Based on preliminary data, 2023 pedestrian accident numbers will likely be the same as those reported in 2022.  As of the writing of this article, an estimated 712 people in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach metro area have already died in vehicle-pedestrian accidents.

Studies Show Hit-And-Run Pedestrian Accidents Are Common in South Florida

Whether it is because they panic or don’t have insurance or a valid driver’s license, some Florida drivers choose to speed away from an accident instead of sticking around and rendering aid or calling for help.

A 2023 FLHSMV study revealed the following in terms of pedestrian hit-and-run accidents in South Florida and across the state:

  • Around 73% of the fatal hit-and-run crashes in Florida involve pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Roughly 3% more bicyclists and pedestrians died in hit-and-run crashes in 2022 than in 2021.
  • There were about 144 fatal hit-and-run crashes involving pedestrians in Florida in 2022.

In Fort Lauderdale and neighboring South Florida cities, there were over 12,500 hit-and-run traffic accidents in 2022, with 44 of them resulting in fatalities. It is worth noting that some or all of those 44 pedestrians might still be alive today had the drivers who hit them remained at the scene.

After being struck by a vehicle, many pedestrians are severely injured and left lying in the street. That puts them at risk of being hit again by other motorists and even killed. When a driver hits someone and stays on the accident scene, their vehicle serves as a barrier and blocks other cars that would travel that same path and possibly run over an injured pedestrian on the ground.

Along with being a good form of cardio exercise, walking is also a cost-effective way to see what South Florida has to offer.  At the same time, however, it can put people in harm’s way.  That said, the best and easiest way to reduce pedestrian-involved accidents in South Florida is by staying alert and quickly notifying the police if you see someone engaging in reckless driving or driving under the influence.