With 500 pedestrian fatalities and 8,000 pedestrian injuries, this type
of accident occurs far too often in the sunshine state. In fact, Florida
has one of the highest rates of pedestrian injuries nationwide. However,
the city of Gainesville is taking action to help reduce this.
Gainesville Police Department initiated a
pedestrian safety program using a tactic it felt would be most effective. In January of 2010, it
stopped nearly 100 cars in one hour for failing to yield to pedestrians.
The GPD’s spokesperson Ben Tobias explains that motorists are more
likely to respect the law if violating it will result in a ticket.
Almost four years later, the program which features a police enforcement
campaign, additional signage and additional striping for the crosswalk
areas remains an important safety measure. A testament to the program’s
success, pedestrian related accidents decreased from 142 in 2010 to 124 in 2011.
And there seems to be positive sentiment about it among Gainesville residents. In a
GTN News online report, Victor Berguirstain explains that he definitely feels a lot safer as
a pedestrian. He believes it’s an effective way to prevent injuries
With the success of Gainesville’s program, GTN News says that the
National Traffic Highway Association hopes to use it as an example to
make Florida a safer place for pedestrians.
GainesvillePD.org: “Crosswalk Safety –Making our streets safe”