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Pedestrian accidents on the rise in Florida, across country

Floridians are fortunate that even in winter, mild temperatures make so that they can walk places. They may walk to shops, to school or to work. However, walking on Florida's streets is not always safe. Between the first part of 2015 and the first part of 2016, the number of deadly pedestrian accidents increased in Florida from 277 to 301, which marks an increase of 8.7 percent.

Florida's statistics followed a national trend. Across the country, the number of fatal pedestrian accidents increased by 11 percent, with there being about 6,000 pedestrian deaths across the country between January and June of 2016. This increase is noteworthy since, although deaths related to traffic accidents increased overall during the same time, that increase was only 6 percent.

Experts who reviewed the report attributed the increase to a number of factors. One is simply that people drive more often when the economy is strong. There is also an ongoing issue with distracted drivers just not noticing when a person is trying to cross the street, and it bears mentioning that pedestrians also need to put away their phones while they are walking.

Finally, speeding and drunk or drugged driving remain constant problems when it comes to keeping pedestrians safe. With respect to speed, some communities have lowered speed limits in areas where pedestrians are likely to be crossing or traveling alongside the road, as a pedestrian is much more likely to survive getting hit by a car if the car is traveling at a lower rate of speed.

In any event, these statistics should serve as an important reminder to all those in the Tampa area that there is a lot to be done when it comes to ensuring that pedestrians stay safe on Florida's streets and sidewalks. Drivers in particular have an obligation to be on the lookout for pedestrians and to take reasonable care around them.

Source: npr.org, "Distraction, On Street And Sidewalk, Helps Cause Record Pedestrian Deaths," David Schaper, March 30, 2017

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