Florida Crosswalk LawsRequest Free Consultation
Crosswalks are meant to provide safe places for pedestrians to cross the road in Florida. Unfortunately, they are often the settings of vehicle-pedestrian accidents. Many pedestrian collisions occur because one or both parties don’t understand how Florida’s crosswalk laws work. Learning these laws could potentially prevent you from getting hit by a car while attempting to cross the road on foot in Tampa.
When Do Pedestrians in Florida Have the Right-of-Way?
Florida’s crosswalk law is found in the Florida Statutes Section 316.130. This law states that the driver of a vehicle must stop and remain stopped at any crosswalk with signage that so indicates to allow a pedestrian to cross a roadway, both when the pedestrian is in the crosswalk and is approaching the driver’s half of the roadway so closely as to be in danger. It is against the law to pass a driver that is stopped at a marked or unmarked crosswalk to permit a pedestrian to cross.
Pedestrians must cross the road within marked crosswalks or intersections to have the right-of-way. If an intersection has a traffic control signal in place, a pedestrian may only cross the roadway when he or she is given the permitted signal. In this case, a driver must stop before entering the crosswalk and remain stopped to allow the pedestrian to cross. If there is no traffic control signal in operation or crosswalk signage, a motor vehicle driver must yield the right-of-way (by slowing down or stopping) to a pedestrian crossing the road within a crosswalk.
A pedestrian may not step into a crosswalk at a controlled intersection without the signal to do so (the “Walk” sign). Florida law also states that no pedestrian is allowed to leave a curb or place of safety to step directly into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to make it impossible for the driver to yield. Finally, if a pedestrian is crossing a roadway at a point where an overhead pedestrian crossing or pedestrian tunnel has been provided, the pedestrian is required to yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
Who Is Liable for a Crosswalk Accident in Florida?
Motor vehicle drivers are responsible for most crosswalk accidents and pedestrian collisions in Florida. Drivers are often guilty of acts that are negligent or reckless behind the wheel, such as speeding, distracted driving, texting and driving, and driving under the influence. These actions can make a driver run red lights, miss crosswalk signals, speed, fail to yield the right-of-way and make other mistakes that put pedestrians’ lives in danger.
If a driver strikes a pedestrian within a crosswalk, the driver is almost always at fault. However, if the pedestrian jumped or ran into the roadway when a vehicle was approaching too close to stop, the driver may not be held liable for the wreck. In this case, it might not have been reasonably possible for the driver to stop and avoid the crash. If the pedestrian did not have the right-of-way to cross the road, he or she may also be found at least partially responsible for the accident.
Comparative Negligence Law and Pedestrian Accidents
In a case where liability is allocated to both the driver and pedestrian, Florida’s comparative fault law is used (Florida Statutes Section 768.81). This law states that if an injured accident victim is found to be partially responsible for an accident, his or her percentage of fault will proportionately diminish the amount awarded as economic and noneconomic damages. In other words, a pedestrian’s financial recovery will be reduced by his or her amount of fault. However, it will not bar recovery.