Accidents involving automobiles and pedestrians almost always result in severe injuries or even death for the pedestrian, which is simply due to the driver of the car having much more protection than the pedestrian. These types of injuries can be even more serious if the vehicle that strikes them is a large semi truck. Below, we’ll take a look at how common truck and pedestrian accidents are, how Florida law determines right-of-way issues for pedestrians, and go over some safe driving tips for both pedestrians and truck drivers.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost three-quarters of pedestrian fatalities occur in urban settings versus rural settings, which is to be expected, given that urban areas have greater numbers of pedestrians on the streets. Pedestrian deaths accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities in motor vehicle traffic in 2012, and 90% of the pedestrians killed were involved in crashes that involved a single vehicle. The overwhelming majority of pedestrian deaths that year were caused by accidents between passenger cars or light trucks and pedestrians (84%), while only 6% were between large trucks and pedestrians. Although this percentage seems small, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that pedestrians accounted for 15% of all deaths involving large trucks the same year. This means that pedestrians are overrepresented in truck accident fatalities statistics, indicating that pedestrians who are struck by large trucks are more likely to die of their injuries than pedestrians who are struck by smaller vehicles.
Contrary to the popular belief that “pedestrians have the right of way,” pedestrians, in fact, do not always have the right of way. Pedestrians are bound by many of the same laws that drivers of passenger vehicles are bound by–for example, they must obey traffic signals and yield the right of way to drivers when the situation requires.
Pedestrians in Florida have the right of way in the following situations:
As you can see, the number of scenarios in which pedestrians do not have the right of way is actually far greater than those in which pedestrians do have the right of way.
Fault for accidents between large trucks and pedestrians is usually based on theories of negligence, the same way that it would be in accidents between two vehicles. Negligence is very easy to prove in certain types of pedestrian accidents. For example, if the truck runs a red light and hits a pedestrian, the accident is clearly his fault. However, not all accident scenarios are this simple. Sometimes it is a combination of factors, including negligence by both parties, that results in a pedestrian being struck by a truck. For example, let’s say that a pedestrian is walking along the shoulder of a roadway that has no sidewalk, but she is walking on the right side of the roadway, instead of the left, as required by law. At the same time, a large truck is driving down the road and driver does not see the pedestrian because he is texting. Unfortunately, he strikes her, causing severe injuries. In this scenario, both parties are at fault for the accident. The pedestrian should have been walking on the other side of the roadway and the truck driver should not have been texting. In cases like this, liability for the accident will be shared among the two parties according to whatever percent of the fault the court determines fell to them.
Because accidents involving trucks and pedestrians can involve fault on both sides, here a few things you can do to avoid them, whether you are a pedestrian or a truck driver.
For Pedestrians –
For Truck Drivers –
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765