Florida metros among the highest traffic fatality rates

| Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Five Florida metropolitan areas rank among the nation's 10 worst cities for fatal accidents, according to a study of government statistics released Dec. 18. Researchers say streets that weren't built to accommodate fast-growing communities, and the high number of elderly drivers and pedestrians in Florida likely are to blame for the cities' high rate of fatalities.

The Road Information Project, a nonprofit research group, conducted the study. The data is based on statistics for 2000, compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The study listed Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg and West Palm Beach as the three urban areas with the greatest number of traffic fatalities per 100,000 people. Jacksonville and Fort Lauderdale ranked eight and ninth, respectively.

Last year, a report showed Florida with the highest number of fatalities involving older drivers. Steps the state took to address the issue include enlarging letters on street signs from 4 to at least 8 inches.

Other cities rounding out the list are Austin, TX, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Memphis, TN, and Kansas City, MO. Statistics show that 76 percent of those killed in urban traffic accidents were motorists, 21 percent were pedestrians and 3 percent were bicyclists.

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