FDOT could lower speed limits on high-traffic roads

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - Florida is the second most dangerous state for pedestrians.

The Department of Transportation is drafting a plan to reduce that number, which will likely include lowering the speed limit of high-risk roads in the state.

Of the top ten most dangerous cities in the country for pedestrians, nine are in Florida. The Department of Transportation is looking at the option of lowering speed limits on high-traffic roads to reduce the number of fatal accidents.

Last year there were 649 pedestrian fatalities in the state. So far there have been 318 in 2017.

"We take it seriously, both pedestrians, bicycles, and our motoring public," said Florida Highway Patrol Lieutenant Tom Pikul.

The Department of Transportation draft says it's considering reducing speed limits on an undetermined number roads around the state. The proposal is part of the DOT's implementation of its "Complete Streets" program adopted back in 2014, which is aimed at lowering pedestrian fatalities.

The Department of Transportation declined to confirm any details regarding the proposal, but officials did say lowering speed limits is an option on the table. Traffic speeds have been identified as one of the leading factors in pedestrian fatalities.

A national survey conducted by AAA shows fatalities are four times less likely when speed is reduced from 40 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour.

"Speed is a significant contributing factor to over a quarter of the crashes that involve fatalities," said AAA Spokesperson W.D. Williams.

The DOT initiative is also considering widening sidewalks, adding bicycle lanes, constructing barriers for jaywalkers, and narrowing streets to reduce the speed of traffic.

The DOT says a final implementation plan will be released in November. Until then, details are subject to change.

Once the plan is finalized, the changes will be rolled out over several years.