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Tampa Bay: Accidents by The Numbers

The Tampa Bay Area is on track to record the lowest number of fatal traffic crashes in 35 years. Unfortunately, however, pedestrian and cyclist traffic deaths remain just as high in 2014 as in they have been in past years. These numbers will guarantee that Tampa Bay will still rank near the top nationally as a place hostile to all walkers and bikers. 2012 figures showed crashes killed 107 pedestrians and 28 cyclists then across the three-county region. Pedestrian and bicyclist deaths remain high across Tampa Bay and the entire state of Florida, which has become a focus of the Florida Department of Transportation. The FDOT hopes to bring these numbers down by reminding drivers to stay alert and by urging walkers and bikers to obey the rules of the road, said DOT spokeswoman Karen Smith. Gaskins put it more bluntly: “Frankly, most of the pedestrian crashes are the pedestrian’s fault,” he said. “They have a duty to comply with the law.” Jaywalking, wearing headphones or texting on a mobile phone all put walkers and bikers at risk of dying in crashes, he said. The Florida High Patrol shows 129 fatal crashes in Hillsborough County through Christmas Day, which is actually a drop of nearly 25 percent over 2012. Pinellas and Pasco counties similarly saw drops in fatal crashes this year — 21 percent and 11 percent each, compared to 2012. Jimmy Carter was President of the United States the last time Hillsborough County reported fatal crashes anywhere near the number of fatal crashes in 2013. Back then, Hillsborough County had nearly half its current population, which is 1.2 million. Around that time, Hillsborough recorded 116 fatal crashes. These numbers are according to records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They catalog traffic fatalities back to 1975. The 2013 crash figures could change, cautions Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Jeff Frost. The current reported numbers will not be officially finalized until next spring. This additional time will allow all counties and cities in the state to report their crashes. Federal figures, which are based on state reports, show fatalities across the Tampa region’s three counties combined have been declining since 2006 In the past few years, traffic fatalities have stayed around 300, which traffic experts have attributed at partly to the weak economy, which has taken many commuters off the roads. Crashes jumped about 10 percent in 2012, a year when unemployment declined steadily. It is not entirely clear what caused the sharp drop between last year and this year. There are several factors. “Improvements in road design [such as] smoothing out the humps in the new stretch of Interstate 275 through Tampa, for example, also help reduce crashes,” said Sgt. Steve Gaskins, spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol’s Tampa office. Additionally, Gaskins said the highway patrol has been putting more troopers on the roads and pushing safe-driving messages on motorists more than in the past. Safer cars equipped with airbags continually lower the number of drivers and passengers who die in crashes, he said. In conclusion, the number of fatal car crashes has dropped recently in Tampa, but the number of fatal crashes with bicyclists or pedestrians is still extremely high. The need to stay alert on the roadways is of vital importance. If you or a loved one has been injured on the roadways, give the Tampa car crash attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA a call today: 727-451-6900. https://www.dolmanlaw.com/tampa-car-accident-attorney/