Report: Florida pedestrian deaths falling

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The number of pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in Florida is on the decline, according to a new report.

The Governors Highway Safety Association looked at information from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

It then compared the number of fatal pedestrian crashes reported in the first of six months of both 2012 and 2013. Data from the second half of last year is not yet available, according to the G.H.S.A.

In Florida, the report found there were 234 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes between January and June of 2012. During the same time frame last year, the report found there were 179 fatal pedestrian crashes.

That represents a decline of nearly 24%.

However, according to USA Today, First Coast News' sister publication, officials with the Florida Department of Transportation are not quite yet declaring victory.

USA Today reported Wednesday Billy Hattaway was picked in 2011 to head the agency's pedestrian and bicycle safety efforts. He told the publication he is cautiously optimistic that the state's safety improvements have contributed to the reported decline.

"...I'm not quite there yet, comfort-level wise," he said.

USA Today reported the state has added two full-time bike and pedestrian safety specialists to each of the seven DOT district offices, plus two at central headquarters. It also reported the state increased enforcement and education efforts and is re-writing bike and pedestrian traffic laws.

Still, the First Coast continues to see a number of fatal pedestrian crashes.

In recent months, a 45-year-old woman was hit and killed on Anastasia Boulevard in St. Augustine, a 37-year-old woman was hit and killed on U.S. 90 in Nassau County, a 65-year-old woman was hit and killed on Blanding Boulevard and a mother was hit and killed while walking to synagogue with her daughter in Jacksonville's Mandarin neighborhood.

Local officials have stepped up enforcement in response to cases like this. Motion sensors now sit at San Jose & Haley to better detect when pedestrians are present.

The same G.H.S.A. report found a nearly 9% decline in the number of fatal pedestrian crashes across the country.


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