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.