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Distracted driving big problem for Lake Morton swans

Hillsborough County

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – A Lakeland landmark is under attack.

Sadly, casualties include one of the loveliest creatures synonymous with the city. The situation is described as both heartbreaking and hard to fix, city leaders say.

They’re looking for answers

But, the question remains. How do you save the swans?

“It’s very serene,” said John Gould, a senior at Florida Southern. He lives across the street from Lake Morton and stops by often to see Lakeland’s most popular residents.

The swans steal the show every time.

They are deeply respected and admired, considered a Lakeland treasure.

“For me, I think peaceful is a really appropriate word,” said Gould. 

Gould, like so many, were heartbroken to hear what’s happening. In the last three weeks, life has been dangerous for swans on Lake Morton.

Six were hit by cars in that time.

Five died.

“It’s a shame they’re being hurt,” Gould said. “I think drivers should pay better attention, maybe they’re texting,” he observed.

He’s right, according to city leaders. 

Distracted driving is a big problem, one that’s killing this beautiful bird.

Lakeland leaders met Thursday night in a closed-door meeting to discuss what to do. The speed limit is 25 mph, but the rules are broken by drivers all the time.

On Wednesday, a jogger was hit.

How do you make people slow down?

Leaders like the concept of crosswalks, but nixed speed bumps. For now, the city continues to debate the issue.

They tell WFLA they’ll conduct another extensive traffic study next week. Then, once the results are completed, the city will decide whether or not crosswalks are the answer.

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