Are Panhandlers a Public Safety Issue?

Are Panhandlers a Public Safety Issue?

Panhandlers often stand on curbs asking for help from drivers in the form of money. There are many reasons why a person will panhandle, but it is for sure that panhandlers need help in some shape or form. Should it be drivers that give them that help? Is it dangerous for panhandlers to be standing where they are on curbs around the country?

Recently, the city of Orlando, Florida changed their laws regarding how panhandlers can operate. In the past the city allowed panhandlers to ask for help from drivers within designated boxes that are painted onto curbs around the city. But, within the past few weeks the city has decided to change that law because it may endanger the lives of panhandlers and drivers.

What Orlando decided to do is to make panhandling legal anywhere, not just within the designated boxes. But, while the city decided to make panhandling legal, they made it illegal for panhandlers to physically accept anything from drivers. This eliminates the often dangerous interactions that can take place between the two.

Some of the things that make it dangerous include:

  • Panhandlers often go out into traffic making it more likely for a pedestrian accident to occur.
  • Curbs are not meant to have several people hanging out on them. This also makes it more likely for a pedestrian accident to occur.
  • Drivers interacting with panhandlers can slow down the traffic pattern and lead to things like road rage and drivers being in a hurry.

At the Schafer Law Office, we are always in favor of any law that reduces the possible number of traffic or pedestrian accidents. We also recognize that some of the people that have been forced to panhandle have fallen on hard times and this may be one of the only solutions to get them back on their feet. While we think that people standing on curbs can be a danger to both drivers and themselves, we also recognize that people need to do what it takes for their families to live healthy lives. 

Michael Schafer
The Personal Injury Attorney for Louisville and Kentucky
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