Florida has the second highest annual number of pedestrian fatalities in the nation, just behind California. According to preliminary data from the Governors Highway Safety Association, 359 pedestrians were killed in Florida during the first half of 2018. That number jumped to 368 during the same period in 2019.
About a quarter of pedestrian fatalities happen at Florida's intersections — where drivers are known to blow through traffic signals. In fact, three of the most dangerous intersections in the nation for red-light runners exist in the Sunshine State, according to USA Today.
The identified worst intersections across the state are only the tip of the iceberg. This is a statewide problem that happens in every community.
Florida lawmakers pass bill to curb red-light running
The Florida House passed the Sophia Nelson Pedestrian Safety Act in March by a 118-1 vote, according to Florida Today.
The bill only allows yellow rectangular rapid flashing beacons at crosswalks on two-lane roads with maximum speed limits of 35 mph.
The Florida Department of Transportation must request authorization from federal transportation officials to replace the flashing-yellow beacon equipment with red-light versions on all other roadways.
These red crosswalk lights would have to be installed within the next year. Otherwise, the yellow beacons would have to be removed by October 2024.
According to State Representative Mike Caruso (R-Delray Beach), replacing the yellow flashing light (which comes before the red light) with a red flashing light may urge drivers to be prepared to stop at traffic signals.
"All this bill seeks to do is change yellow blinking lights to red blinking lights," Caruso said.
Yellow lights may be the problem
The problem with yellow lights is that drivers tend to speed up or blow through them in order to avoid stopping. Some drivers fail to stop even after the light turns red.
That's exactly what took the life of an elementary school student in December 2019. The child suffered a severe traumatic brain injury and was eventually taken off life support. The driver who blew through the yellow light was cited for failure to stop at a crosswalk.
State Rep. Randy Fine (R-Palm Bay) introduced the bill. In a statement, he highlighted the dangers posed by flashing yellow lights in areas where pedestrians are present.
“Sophia can never come back. No one who’s killed at one of these crosswalks can ever come back. And we allowed this to happen,” said Fine.
How can a lawyer help if I was hit by a red-light runner?
There is absolutely no excuse for blowing through traffic lights and endangering pedestrians. The Law Offices of Scott M. Miller, PLLC has represented several clients who have been seriously injured while legally using crosswalks. Some have even lost loved ones because of the actions of reckless drivers.
That's why we are dedicated to holding reckless drivers accountable. Our legal team works tirelessly to help crash victims and their families get the compensation they need.
Contact us online to schedule your free consultation or call our Longwood law office at 866-MILLER-5 (866-645-5375). We serve clients in the greater Orlando area.