She simply was trying to catch the school bus to Guinta Middle School on Nov. 16.
However, 13-year-old Andrea Bower’s dash across Bloomingdale Avenue during rush-hour traffic ended her life too soon.
The teen was struck by a Ford SUV and dragged 20 feet. She later died at Tampa General Hospital.
It’s tragedies such as this that is prompting the Florida Highway Patrol to urge increased vigilance on behalf of drivers and pedestrians during the coming year.
In the past year, the FHP has investigated 331 traffic crashes involving pedestrians in a seven-county area. Of that number, 43 were fatal.
Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties had the highest number of pedestrian fatalities this year in the seven-county area. There were 12 in Hillsborough, 11 in Pinellas and 12 in Pasco County.
According to the highway patrol, 87 percent of those accidents occurred at night or in low-light conditions. When walking at night, the FHP urges pedestrians to wear bright colors and carry a flashlight or wear reflectors.
Another two-thirds of the fatalities occurred because the pedestrians did not obey Florida traffic laws by using pedestrian crosswalks, sidewalks and other roadway features designed for pedestrians.
When sidewalks are not available, the highway patrol says pedestrians should walk facing on-coming traffic and understand that, especially in low-light conditions drivers, may not see or expect pedestrian traffic. For a full review of Florida’s pedestrian traffic laws see this website.
- On average, a pedestrian is killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes in the United States.
- In 2010, 4,280 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in the U.S, that’s up 4 percent from 2009.
- The state of Florida had the second highest number of pedestrian fatalities in 2010.
- In 2010, pedestrian deaths accounted for 13 percent of all traffic fatalities.
- Hillsborough County’s per capita pedestrian crash fatality rate of 3.24 fatalities per 100,000 persons is somewhat greater than the state average of 2.94 per 100,000 persons.
- Over the past five years, on average, 36 pedestrians per year have died in pedestrian crashes countywide. Nearly 175 pedestrians per year have sustained incapacitating injury and an additional 315 pedestrians per year have sustained less severe injuries.
- Florida Department of Transportation District 7 has invested substantially in pedestrian safety. From 2008-10, the Highway Safety Program invested $2 million in countdown pedestrian signals and the Safe Routes to School program invested more than $3.5 million in solar‐powered speed feedback signs, school flashers, and sidewalks.
(Source: Hillsborough County Pedestrian Safety Action Plan)