Ask Trooper Steve: Who’s to blame in pedestrian crashes at night?

Trooper Steve answers viewer questions

Viewers ask traffic questions and Trooper Steve answers them.

ORLANDO, Fla. – News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions about the rules of the road every week, helping Central Florida residents become better drivers by being better educated.

Trooper Steve was asked, “Who’s to blame in pedestrian crashes at night?”

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To preface, he said when it comes to crashes involving pedestrians, Central Florida unfortunately ranks among the top in the country.

“So much of this can be avoided by following very simple traffic rules. Although some of these traffic rules can be inconvenient to some drivers and some pedestrians, they are there to make sure you stay alive,” he said. “When a pedestrian crosses the road, they are responsible to make sure they are doing it safely and legally. Yes, there are times where a driver must also yield right of way to a pedestrian in certain areas, but when that pedestrian crosses in an area that a driver is not expecting, it can lead to a pretty bad situation.”

Trooper Steve said at night, if a crash happened as a pedestrian crosses the road, the fault is determined by who has the right of way.

“If a pedestrian is crossing the road midblock in an area where they are not supposed to cross, a driver would not expect them there. Put yourselves in their shoes as the driver. You were driving down the road doing everything you were supposed to be doing and then suddenly there is someone in front of your car. If that pedestrian is not in a marked crosswalk or crossing somewhere where pedestrians have the right of way, that pedestrian has now contributed to that crash, and is at fault,” he said.

However, he said if the pedestrian was in a marked crosswalk and hit by a car, then there would be circumstances around the crash that would defend the pedestrian’s action.

“When we are driving on our roads, we only expect what we know. As you approach an intersection, or a streetlight you naturally begin to start to follow other rules. This is because there is other traffic intermingling with you at that time. If you were on a straight roadway in the middle of the night, and you had the right of way, the last thing you expect, is someone to illegally walk in front of your car. I understand the emotional element of these types of crashes, but emotions do not supersede law and we must follow the basics if we want to be safe,” he said.

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About the Author:

Steven Montiero, better known as “Trooper Steve," joined the News 6 morning team as its Traffic Safety Expert in October 2017. A Central Florida native and decorated combat veteran, Montiero comes to the station following an eight-year assignment with the Florida Highway Patrol.