TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Between 2008 and 2017, drivers hit and killed 49,340 pedestrians across the United States. That’s more than 13 people per day, or one person every hour and 46 minutes.
8 On Your Side is now uncovering why three Tampa Bay metro areas topped a new list of the most dangerous metro areas for pedestrians in the country.
Smart Growth America – a metropolitan expansion advocacy group – found thatnationally, pedestrian deaths increased by 35.4 percent between 2008 and 2017, as did vehicle miles traveled, which increased by 8.1 percent.
Florida landed in the top spot for pedestrian fatalities between 2008 and 2017, with 5,433 pedestrian deaths. Alabama, which had the second most pedestrian-related fatalities, had a fraction of Florida’s total with 841.
While Florida metro areas make up eight of the top 10 most dangerous in the country, three off them were in Tampa Bay:
- North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton: 194
- Lakeland-Winter Haven: 162
- Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater: 900
After reading the report, 8 On Your Side reached out to those cities. While some did not respond to requests for information, here is how many pedestrian-related fatalities the following cities have had so far in 2019:
- Tampa: 15
- St. Pete: 11
- Clearwater: 2
- Winter Haven: 1
- Sarasota: 2
Earlier this year, Tampa Bay found itself to be the focus of a similar study, where Hillsborough County ranked fourth in the state for pedestrian deaths. Pinellas County and Pasco County ranked No. 7 and No. 10, respectively.
In 2011, The Florida Department of Transportation used $9 million to launch the Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow campaign in an effort to educate the public on pedestrian laws, rights and tips on traveling safely throughout Florida’s pedestrian paths.
In 2017, the Center for Urban Transportation Research at USF and Florida Department of Transportation District 7 launched WalkWise Tampa Bay, a grassroots initiative that provides pedestrian safety education to residents of Tampa Bay.
The WalkWise Tampa Bay campaign has provided over 1,200 presentations to over 14,000 people.