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There is a plethora of benefits associated with walking, including the physical/health aspect, but also personal, environmental, and social benefits. Walking can lead to more community engagement which can improve local economies and lead to more vibrant and livable areas, and even create cleaner, quieter, and safer streets.

81-200x300Unfortunately, there were 6,516 pedestrians killed in the United States in 2020. This breaks down to 125 pedestrian deaths a week or 18 pedestrians a day. In 2020, a pedestrian was killed every 81 minutes and injured every 10 minutes.

In 2019, Florida had the second highest number of pedestrian fatalities – 713. California took the top spot with 972 pedestrian deaths and Texas came in third with 649 pedestrian deaths.

The numbers do not lie – pedestrian accident deaths are a huge problem in the U.S. Here are some more key statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • There were 6,205 pedestrian deaths in 2019, a 2.7% decrease from the 6,374 pedestrian deaths in 2018.
  • In 2019, around 76,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic accidents, a 1% increase from the 75,000 pedestrian injuries in 2018.
  • In 2019, a pedestrian was killed every 85 minutes and injured every 7 minutes.
  • In 2019, pedestrian deaths accounted for 17% of all traffic deaths.

Every person is a pedestrian at some point in time, so it is vital for everyone to understand the rules of the road for pedestrians and drivers. With Daylight Savings Time coming to an end, we will see it getting darker earlier, which only increases the risks for pedestrians. The majority of hit and run pedestrian accidents happen at night or during low-light hours.

Important Safety Reminders for Pedestrians:

  • Walk on sidewalks or paths when they are available.
  • If there is no sidewalk or path available to use, then walk on the shoulder of the road facing traffic.
  • Do not become distracted by eating or texting or talking on a phone, or even listening to a podcast or music on your headphones. Do not let anything take your eyes or ears off the road.
  • If you are walking somewhere at night, exercise extreme caution and never assume that a motorist can see you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach you.
  • Drivers expect to see pedestrians and crosswalks or intersections, so cross streets here whenever possible. If one is not available, then find a well-lighted area and pause for a gap in traffic that is a large enough window to allow you to cross the street safely. As you cross, always continue to watch for traffic.
  • Make yourself visible by wearing bright clothing during the day. At night, wear reflective clothing and use a flashlight
  • Refrain from using drugs or alcohol when walking.

Important Safety Reminders for Drivers:

  • Pedestrians could be anywhere, and they may not be walking where they should be or hard to see, so keep an eye out for them especially at night and in bad weather conditions
  • You should always stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk.
  • Do not pass vehicles that are stopped at a crosswalk as they may be stopped for pedestrians that you cannot see.
  • Do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Follow the posted speed limits, and always slow down when pedestrians are present.
  • Make sure you are focused when driving and slow down your speed in school zones and neighborhoods where there may be children present.

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A single-vehicle crash that happened on Sept. 29 has left a 16-year-old boy dead and four other teens suffering serious injuries. 

The 16-year-old passed away Monday night, according to St. Petersburg police. The other four teens that were involved in the wreck are recovering from their injuries at home.

The crash happened just before 11 p.m. while the 16-year-old teen was behind the wheel of a 2003 Mazda. Police believe he was driving recklessly as well as speeding when he crashed into a curb, hydroplaned, and ultimately struck a tree. 

Firefighters arrived at the scene to remove the teen driver from the vehicle and transport him to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg hospital to treat his life-threatening injuries. 

Another 16-year-old boy was transported to the same hospital with critical injuries. Two other teen boys, 16 and 17, were also treated at that same hospital for minor injuries. 

Police also believe a 14-year-old girl was riding in the same vehicle with the teen boys, but have not said if she was injured. 

Police did say that none of the teen’s involved in the wreck had a driver’s license. 

A St. Petersburg police spokeswoman said the crash remains under investigation.

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Teen Driving Facts 

  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,255 teen drivers aged 15-19 were involved in fatal car accidents in 2017. 
  • Of the 3,255 teens involved in fatal car wrecks in 2017, 2,526 were killed. 
  • When compared to adults, teens are 10 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision. 
  • Car accidents are still the leading cause of death amongst teens in the United States. 
  • The majority of fatal teen driving accidents happen within 6 months of the teen receiving their driver’s license.
  • Speeding accounts for 31% of all fatal teen auto accidents. 

Teen drivers, even though they may have their driver’s license, are usually not ready for the same driving responsibilities as adults. Their lack of experience, immaturity, and lack of skill are all factors for why teen drivers are involved in a higher rate of fatal collisions. Teen drivers make mistakes, become easily distracted, speed, and take unnecessary risks, especially when they have other teen passengers riding along with them. 

What You Can Do to Help Your Teen Driver Stay Safe Behind the Wheel 

As a parent or caregiver you should realize that you have more influence over your teen driver than you may think. Talk to your child about the dangers of drinking and driving, texting while driving, and engaging in other dangers when behind the wheel. Having healthy discussions about dangerous driving behaviors can deter your teen from making poor decisions when they are driving. 

You also want to lead by example. If you practice safe driving habits, the odds are that they will, too (hopefully). You can set aside time to take your teen driver out on the road to get in good practice. This is also good quality time spent together while teaching them some basic driving skills. Remember, your teen’s driving education starts at home with you. 

You can set boundaries and consequences when it comes to your teen driving. If you catch your teen talking or texting while driving, or breaking any other driving rule you have set, such as speeding, driving somewhere that is not allowed or having too many passengers in their car, then create consequences that will make them think twice about breaking another rule again. Limit where and when they can drive, take away their cell phone, etc. Teens need to be constantly reminded to keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel at all times, every time they are behind the wheel. 

If your teen has been involved in an auto accident as a driver or passenger that was no fault of their own, then you could be entitled to financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are well equipped to handle teen driving claims, including any wrongful deaths that have resulted. There is no dollar amount that can undo a serious injury or bring back a lost child, but a personal injury or wrongful death claim can hold the negligent party accountable for their recklessness and prevent the same thing from happening to someone else. 

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