National agency calls for improved pedestrian safety

The National Transportation Safety Board, a federal agency with expertise in traffic safety, recently issued a comprehensive report that discussed how the country can make pedestrians both in Florida and in other parts of the country safer.

The report, which was summarized by at least one media source, made several recommendations that might turn back the epidemic of pedestrian deaths the country has been experiencing. Between 2009 and 2016, for instance, the number of pedestrian deaths increased by almost 50 percent, up to just under 6,000. This figure marked the most fatalities in about 30 years.

The figures for 2017, which have yet to be finalized, are expected to be similar to those of 2016.

The recommendations of the Board ranged from improving the design of vehicles to doing more on the local level to improve the easy and safe flow of pedestrian traffic. One person affiliated with the Board also suggested that authorities could help curb this problem by enhanced enforcement of speed limits, perhaps by using cameras and other automatic devices.

While there may be a number of ways to reduce the frequency of pedestrian accidents in the Tampa area, the fact remains that one of the best ways to avoid striking a pedestrian is for a motorist to drive slowly and carefully, particularly in areas where there are a lot of pedestrians. Drivers who fail in this duty may be held financially responsible by those whom they injure.

More generally, drivers need to respect the rights of those who are walking in crosswalks and along the side of a street and, even if a pedestrian is technically in the wrong, should at least be aware that their vehicle can easily and seriously injure a pedestrian who is obviously not protected from the blow of a car.

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