Written on May 5, 2017 3:45:32 PM
3 New Road Safety Laws Passed in Tampa
You don't need someone to tell you that Tampa Bay, Florida is a great place to live. The first time you visit, you won't want to leave. Tampa is beautiful, but like all cities, it's far from perfect.
In 2016, there were 395,438 car crashes in Florida; of those, 165,956 involved injuries. In 2015, there were 9,085 pedestrian crashes in Florida. 632 pedestrians died and 7,870 walked away with injuries, many of them severe.
Last year, Smart Growth America, a national organization committed to advocating changes to road safety laws across the country, conducted a study of our nation's cities. The goal was to locate the most dangerous streets in the United States for pedestrians.
The top 10 most dangerous cities for pedestrians in the United States included 8 cities in Florida. Tampa, Florida came in at number 7, and Cape Coral-Fort Meyers, Florida topped the list.
Road safety is clearly an issue in Tampa, as it is throughout the state, and city governments are starting to act. In recent years, Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa have worked with the state legislature to make the roads a safer place.
In recent years, Tampa was called to act, and act they did. They passed several road safety laws that made many changes, some of which may help and others may not. Only time will tell.
Three of the most significant changes to local laws in Tampa include:
- The Approval of Ride-Sharing Services
- Resolutions Passed in Support of "Vision Zero"
- Hillsborough County School Board's Decision to End"Courtesy Busing"
In November 2016. the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission voted 4-3 to allow ride-sharing companies like Uber, Lyft, and their competitors to operate in Tampa.
On the upside, this will provide residents with more transportation options. Ride-sharing services operate in cities across the country, and while safety can never be guaranteed, it at least gives pedestrians a way to get off the dangerous streets and into a car when they need to move around town.
Vision Zero started in 1997 in Sweden and is quickly spreading across the United States. The grassroots movement focuses on city planning and street design. Advocates look for ways to make metro streets safer. New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle are just a few of the cities to sign on to the program.
In 2016, the Tampa City Council, Hillsborough County Commission, Temple Terrace City Council, and the School Board of Hillsborough County adopted Vision Zero resolutions. The city will work with members of the national organization, leaders from other cities, and local law enforcement to make Tampa's roads as safe as possible. The city has already hosted several work shops and plans to continue to do so in coming years to bring people together to make the city safer to walk and drive in.
The End of "Courtesy Busing"
Last year, the Hillsborough County School Board voted 6 to 1 to end "courtesy busing" for students within two miles of public schools. Unfortunately, this means more than 7,500 students will lose access to transportation by August 2017.
While Tampa is no doubt doing what it can to make the streets safer, the city can't ignore its financial restraints. School Board members argued they can no longer afford to pay for these routes and therefore will cease their operation in the coming months.
The move is a blow to advocates who are working to increase, not decrease, the transportation options for Tampa residents. Grade school kids will now need to look elsewhere for a ride to school. Hopefully, the other changes to road safety laws will help them
Contact Lowman Law Firm
If you're involved in a car accident, or you're simply looking for answers related to Tampa's road safety laws, contact Lowman Law Firm. The experienced attorneys at Lowman Law Firm stay up to date with changes to Florida's laws and are here to help if you or a loved one are in an accident. Give them a call today at (352) 796-0016 or toll-free at 866.9 LOWMAN.