Florida city vows to reduce pedestrian death rate from car accidents

Officials of Jacksonville, Florida, say they are taking action to reduce the city’s alarming rate of pedestrian deaths from car accidents.

For four years running, Florida was ranked as the most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians, but state and local officials began to take action, and in 2014 the state was ranked fifth worst. More progress is needed throughout the state, and particularly in Jacksonville, which is ranked with the third-highest pedestrian fatality rate in the country.

Former President Bill Clinton spoke in the Jacksonville area in November and said that a Clinton Foundation initiative would focus on reducing pedestrian fatalities. City officials say they will be working to make the city safer for pedestrians, recognizing that the death toll is unacceptable.

As of Dec. 5, the Florida Times-Union reported that 41 people had died on Jacksonville streets, including 10 since Oct. 7. That is higher than any annual total going back to 2009, leading some officials to predict that Jacksonville would have the worst pedestrian death rate in the nation this year. In 2013, 33 pedestrians died in Jacksonville, and the city’s death rate was second only to Detroit that year.

Despite the alarming statistics, officials said the problem can be solved. The city plans to develop a bicycle and pedestrian master plan that officials hope will reduce fatalities by as much as 50 percent.