The law is clear. In Florida, drivers must yield – slow down or stop – for a pedestrian crossing the street in a crosswalk, even when traffic control signals are not present. Unfortunately, drivers are not adhering to the law and people are being struck by drivers in Central Florida at alarming rates.
In an effort to change driver behavior, law enforcement officers issue citations to drivers who fail to obey the law. Following is a summary of some of the most common driver offenses that are ticketed during a Best Foot Forward law enforcement operation.
316.130 (7) b – Failure to stop at a crosswalk in an uncontrolled location.
316.130 (9) – Overtaking a vehicle that has yielded at a crosswalk
316.130 (15) Failure to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian
316.075 (1) (a) 1 – Failure to yield to a pedestrian when crossing lawfully in a crosswalk controlled by a traffic signal when turning facing a green indication
316.075 (1) (c) 1a – Failure to yield to a pedestrian when making a right turn on red
316.1301 (2) (a) – Failure to yield to a pedestrian crossing with a white cane or guide dog. All traffic must stop and the pedestrian need not be in a crosswalk.
Watch WESH’s Aixa Diaz explain Florida’s driver yield law.
At an unsignalized crosswalk (Section 316.130 F.S.)
- The driver of a vehicle at any crosswalk where signage so indicates shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross a roadway when the pedestrian is in the crosswalk or steps into the crosswalk and is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.
- When traffic control signals are not in place or in operation and there is no signage indicating otherwise, the driver of a vehicle shall yield, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.
- When a vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.
At a signalized crosswalk (Section 316.075 F.S.)
- Drivers must stop before the stop line or, if none marked, the crosswalk or, if none marked, the intersection. (If a crosswalk is present) the driver must remain stopped before the crosswalk to allow a pedestrian, with a permitted signal, to cross a roadway when the pedestrian is in the crosswalk or steps into the crosswalk and is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.
- A driver on a one-way street who intends to turn left onto another one-way street: must stop on red, and may then make a left turn into the intersection on a one-way street (except where this is prohibited by a sign), but must yield to pedestrians and other traffic proceeding in accordance with the signal at the intersection.
- Vehicular traffic facing a circular green signal may proceed cautiously straight through or turn right or left unless a sign at such place prohibits either such turn. But vehicular traffic, including vehicles turning right or left, shall yield the right-of-way to other vehicles and to pedestrians lawfully within the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk at the time such signal is exhibited.
- Vehicular traffic facing a green arrow signal may cautiously enter the intersection to make the movement indicated by such arrow, but shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to other traffic lawfully using the intersection.
Visually or mobility impaired pedestrians (Sections 316.1301 and 316.1303, F.S.)
- Whenever a pedestrian is crossing, or attempting to cross, a public street or highway, guided by a dog guide or carrying in a raised or extended position a cane or walking stick which is white in color or white tipped with red, the driver of every vehicle approaching the intersection or place where the pedestrian is attempting to cross shall bring his or her vehicle to a full stop before arriving at such intersection or place of crossing and, before proceeding, shall take such precautions as may be necessary to avoid injuring such pedestrian.
- Whenever a pedestrian who is mobility impaired is in the process of crossing a public street or highway with the assistance of a guide dog or service animal designated as such with a visible means of identification, a walker, a crutch, an orthopedic cane, or a wheelchair, the driver of a vehicle approaching the intersection shall bring his or her vehicle to a full stop before arriving at the intersection and, before proceeding, shall take precautions necessary to avoid injuring the pedestrian.
Duty to exercise due care (Section 316.130(15), F.S.) and drive at a safe speed (Sections 316.183, 316.185, F.S.)
- Notwithstanding other provisions of this chapter, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle and give warning when necessary and exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person.
- No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing. In every event, speed shall be controlled as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, or vehicle on or entering the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care.
- The driver of every vehicle shall drive at an appropriately reduced speed when approaching and going around a curve; approaching a hill crest; traveling upon any narrow or winding roadway; and when any special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions.
- The fact that a driver is traveling at less than the speed limit does not relieve him of the duty to reduce speed in such conditions. A driver must reduce speed as necessary to avoid colliding with any person legally present on the street.
Other duties of Drivers
- The driver of a vehicle emerging from an alley, building, private road or driveway within a business or residence district shall stop the vehicle immediately prior to driving onto a sidewalk or onto the sidewalk area extending across the alley, building entrance, road or driveway, or in the event there is no sidewalk area, shall stop at the point nearest the street to be entered where the driver has a view of approaching traffic thereon and shall yield to all vehicles and pedestrians which are so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard. (Section 316.125, F.S.)
- Except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic, or in compliance with law or the directions of a police officer or official traffic control device, no person shall stop, stand, or park a vehicle on a sidewalk or on a crosswalk. (Section 316.1945(1)(a)2,4, F.S.)
- Except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic, or in compliance with law or the directions of a police officer or official traffic control device, no person shall stand or park a vehicle, whether occupied or not, except momentarily to pick up or discharge a passenger or passengers, within 20 feet of a crosswalk at an intersection. (Section 316.1945(1)(b)3, F.S.)
People walking must also take responsibility for their safety and obey Florida laws. While no one should blame victims in traffic fatalities, obeying the law and exercising caution could save your life. Below are some key laws you should know and follow for your own protection:
Pedestrian regulations (Section 316.130, F.S.)
Pedestrians must obey any official traffic control device – sign, signal or pavement striping – specifically applicable to the pedestrian unless otherwise directed by a police officer.
Where a sidewalk is available, a pedestrian is not allowed to walk upon the roadway.
Where sidewalks are not provided, pedestrians shall walk on the shoulder on the left side of the roadway facing traffic.
Crossing the roadway (Sections 316.075, 316.130, F.S.)
Pedestrians are subject to traffic signals at intersections.
A pedestrian may not leave the curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.
Pedestrians crossing the roadway at any point other than within a marked or unmarked crosswalk must yield the right-of-way to the vehicles upon the roadway.
Pedestrians crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
Pedestrians are required to keep to the right half of crosswalks.
Except within a marked crosswalk, pedestrians must cross the roadway at a right angle or by the shortest route.
No pedestrian shall cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by official traffic control devices. When authorized to cross diagonally, pedestrians shall cross only in accordance with the official traffic control devices pertaining to such crossing movements.
A pedestrian may not cross between two adjacent signalized intersections, except in a marked crosswalk.
Standing in the roadway (Section 316.130, F.S.)
No person shall stand in the portion of a roadway paved for vehicular traffic for the purpose of soliciting a ride, employment, or business from the occupant of any vehicle.
No person shall stand on or in proximity to a street or highway for the purpose of soliciting the watching or guarding of any vehicle while parked or about to be parked on a street or highway.
Other restrictions (Section 316.130, F.S.)
No pedestrian may jump or dive from a publicly owned bridge
No pedestrian shall enter or remain upon any bridge or bridge approach, beyond the bridge signal, gate, or barrier after a bridge operation signal indication has been given.
No pedestrian shall pass through, around, over, or under any crossing gate or barrier at a railroad grade crossing or bridge while such gate or barrier is closed or is being opened or closed.
No pedestrian shall walk upon a limited access facility (freeway or interstate highway) or a ramp connecting a limited access facility to any other street or highway.
Traffic regulations to assist blind persons (Section 316.1301, F.S.)
It is unlawful for any person, unless totally or partially blind or otherwise incapacitated, while on any public street or highway, to carry in a raised or extended position a cane or walking stick which is white in color or white tipped with red.