Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) July 31, 2018 - After a 17 year recovery from 2001 when Florida's Pasco county vehicle accident fatality count reached 107 deaths, the county’s roads remain among the most dangerous in the nation.
West Pasco’s U.S. 19 is ranked as the most dangerous road in the county, just as it did previously in 2000. That year 81 deaths from fatal crashes occurred on U.S. 19, a record number.
The community reacted strongly toward these statistics. Several years ago police created a road safety campaign on U.S. 19. Volunteers gave pedestrians blinking lights to hold while walking along the road and new street signs with larger letters replaced older ones. Florida’s Department of Transportation positioned street lights on the sides of the road, which was previously unlit.
In 2004, a sales tax, Penny for Pasco, was implemented. The heart of the tax referendum encompassed traffic safety. Millions of tax dollars were saved for Department of Transportation’s (DOT) reconstruction. The money went toward new sidewalks, medians and a specialized right-turn lane to give drivers the ability to slow down safely when searching for their roadside destinations.
Robert Joyce, a Tampa car accident attorney with the law firm Joyce & Reyes, stated, “All motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists deserve to have safe roads. Hopefully these statistics will urge immediate safety improvements to invest in the future of traffic safety.”
Three years after 2004 saw a decline in fatal accidents, but in 2007 a sharp increase of fatal accidents occurred. However, since then the numbers have decreased below 55 deaths in 2013.
As Pasco’s Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) transportation planning manager Craig Casper said, “We might be the worst of the worst.”
From 2011 to 2016, Pasco County had a 20 percent higher death rate for car crashes than the rest of Florida. The state averages 504 injury collisions annually. After 2015, Pasco county's injuries from vehicle accidents was over 1,100 each year.
To meet recent federal requirements to understand how safety can be improved for Florida highways, especially the roads in Pasco, crash statistics have been under analysis. In fact, in an effort to curb the number of accidents and deaths from car crashes, county officials in Pasco have been working on solutions to the problem.
In 2016, there were 17 fatal crashes on U.S. 19 with 19 total deaths. Two of the deceased were bicyclists. Eleven were pedestrians.
Jeff Starkey, New Port Richey Council member, suggested the installation of a pedestrian bridge over U.S. 19 to further safety measures.
The issues are not just with U.S. 19, though; they are spread across the county. Half of almost 1,200 vehicle collisions occurred in one of the 264 traffic signal-mandated intersections. Officials are at a loss for the reason behind these statistics, yet there are plans to further investigate certain catalysts.
The most recent crash statistics from 2016, highlight a variety of causes for fatal crashes. These include: speeding, failing to stop when required, swerving out of lanes, aggressive driving and driving while intoxicated.
The recent federal report requirement states that both state and local traffic officials need to identify one objective that could potentially reduce the amount of fatal crashes. Pasco’s MPO specified its goal to be lowering crash rates to the state average. The DOT is gearing up for a long-term goal of having no fatal crashes whatsoever.
Joyce and Reyes Law Firm, P.A.
307 S Hyde Park Ave
Tampa, FL 33606