Resolution 2009-01

Concerning Pedestrian Safety  

WHEREAS, it is the right of all citizens to have the freedom to travel the streets and avenues of the State, but only a privilege for motorists to travel in powered vehicles; and

WHEREAS, the State of Florida still lacks a law or statute to protect the right of the pedestrian; and

WHEREAS, we, the blind of the Great State of Florida, are unable to drive automobiles and, therefore, tend to be pedestrians, much of the time; and

WHEREAS, we, the blind, walk through the sidewalks of the streets and avenues of our towns and cities, crossing at intersections,  proudly using our white canes, guide dogs and sighted guides; and

WHEREAS, those streets and avenues are dangerous due to motorists who, without thought, put the lives of pedestrians at risk; and

WHEREAS, Florida law allows behaviors, such as motorists being allowed to turn right on red, which seem convenient to drivers but endanger the lives of pedestrians, including the blind; and

WHEREAS, each year there are several injuries and deaths of sighted and blind pedestrians, that would have been avoided by the conscious consideration of pedestrian needs and rights in the conception, writing, and enforcement of pedestrian-friendly traffic laws in the state of Florida; and

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Florida in Convention assembled this twenty-fifth day of May, 2009, in the City of Boca Raton, Florida, that the National Federation of the Blind of Florida encourages and urges the Florida Legislature to be much more cognizant of the needs and rights of all pedestrians, especially those of the blind, as traffic laws are created and revised, so that pedestrian needs are made foremost in the creation and modification of our States traffic laws and regulations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we encourage the legislature, in so doing, to give priority to consideration to such possible measures as:

    (1) Eliminate the ability for a right turn on red from Floridas traffic regulations.
    (2) Forbid motor vehicles to cross or roll into crosswalks where pedestrians are crossing.
    (3) Require a clear and unmistakable declaration of the absolute right of way of all pedestrians, in drivers license training materials and in the Drivers Handbook.
    (4) Launch a campaign to remind law enforcement departments and officers of their responsibility to uphold the rights of pedestrians in situations where the rights of said pedestrians may have been violated.

WHEREAS, as more drivers choose hybrid and electric-powered vehicles, which currently emit very little or no sound, the streets of our cities and towns will become even more dangerous for all pedestrians, but especially for blind pedestrians: Now, therefore,