Summer of Safety

Summer break is officially upon us and the picturesque streets and warm weather of the Tampa Bay area are begging to be enjoyed. But with children currently out of school enjoying the long days and cool nights of summer, it is important for everyone on the road to be extra cautious.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration estimates that 4,600 pedestrians are killed in traffic-related incidents every year, accounting for 11% of all traffic fatalities.

In addition, approximately 70,000 pedestrians are injured annually in roadway accidents. Research from the Governors Highway Safety Association indicates that there will be a 10% increase in pedestrian fatalities in the summer months, with a pedestrian death every 10 minutes. Children under the age of 16 face the highest risk of getting hit by a car.

Motorists need to be mindful of unaccompanied children crossing the street, children playing in the road in the evening, or out-of-towners on vacation who may be unaware of their surroundings. Similarly, parents must also be vigilant of their children and warn them about the dangers of playing in or crossing the street on the way to a park or a friend’s’ house.

Drivers cause most pedestrian accidents, with the following factors impacting roadway safety:

  • Inexperienced or new drivers: According to AAA, the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the deadliest days for teen drivers, with fatalities climbing 15% compared to the rest of the year.
  • Speeding: with additional cars on the road and drivers eager to soak up every minute of summer, drivers can become more impatient or likely to speed to get home or to an activity more quickly.
  • Distracted Driving: talking on the phone, playing with the radio, texting, or additional passengers in the car can all take your attention off of the road
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol: Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day are among the worst days of the year for drunk drivers.

Whether you are a pedestrian, parent, or motorist, we are asking everyone to do their part to save lives, improve safety, and create a culture of respect for everyone sharing the road. Traffic safety is everyone’s responsibility, from the people who design, build, or manage traffic and roadways to the people who utilize it by automobile, motorcycle, bicycle, or foot.

Pedestrian traffic accidents and fatalities can be reduced and avoided by following these safety tips:

  • Use a crosswalk when crossing the street
  • Be alert. Take off your headphones and don’t use the phone when walking
  • Look both ways before crossing the street
  • Don’t assume that motorists see you
  • Be aware of weather conditions and low-visibility conditions, as these can make pedestrians more difficult to spot
  • Avoid distractions while driving. This includes talking on the phone or eating/drinking
  • Watch for pedestrians constantly. You should always look 15 seconds ahead of you and scan sidewalks and intersections for any potential pedestrian dangers
  • Do not assume that pedestrians will adhere to safety signs such as “Walk/Don’t Walk” and proceed with caution
  • Ensure that your vehicle us up-to-date on its safety checks, including brakes, lights, and windshield wipers
  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Use turn signals. Allow enough time to break during bad weather
  • Be extra cautious when approaching or driving through intersections – especially around playgrounds and other recreational places. Remember that children are unpredictable and can dart out at any time
  • Double check your rearview mirrors and back up cameras before reversing
  • Expect the unexpected from bicyclists, allowing them enough room on the road, and double-checking for them before opening doors or turning
  • Don’t speed
  • Do not drink and drive

We hope you all have a safe and happy summer.