road safety

The U.S is on pace to record close to 40,000 roadway and highway deaths for the third consecutive year, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday by the National Safety Council. The silver lining in those dark numbers is that the number of people dying each year in traffic collisions nationwide appears to be leveling off after two years of sharp increases.

Pedestrian deaths in 2016 were the highest they've been since 1990. And SUVs were responsible for a growing number of those fatalities.

A new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that between 2009 and 2016, pedestrian fatalities increased in nearly every circumstance examined. But among all types of vehicles, SUVs had the biggest spike in single-vehicle fatal pedestrian crashes, and crashes were increasingly likely to involve high-horsepower vehicles.

St. Patrick’s Day falls on Saturday this year, and AAA officials say they’re expecting to see much more drivers on the roadways. They’re offering Floridians a safe ride home to avoid fatal crashes.

Researchers at Stanford University this week published a study that may bolster the argument that policies aimed at encouraging immigrants to come out of the shadows actually improve public safety. They found that a 2013 California law granting driver's licenses to immigrants in the country illegally reduced hit-and-run accidents by 7 to 10 percent in 2015, meaning roughly 4,000 fewer hit-and-runs. In that same year, 600,000 people got driver's licenses under the law.

The latest study by non-profit organization Smart Growth America ranks Florida as the most dangerous state to walk in the country.

Bicycles are a type of vehicle so they belong on the road, right?

This is how the wheels turn in places such as New York City and San Francisco, where bicyclists older than age 13 are banned from riding on the sidewalk. Similar laws exist in many cities and towns throughout the country, such as Columbus, Ohio, and Chapel Hill, N.C.

That's not the case everywhere, though. In Boston and Washington, D.C., sidewalk cycling is allowed — with the exception of the downtown areas. But just because bicyclists are allowed to ride on the sidewalk doesn't mean they are welcome there.

http://planzmiami.com/

There have been three deaths of cyclists on the Rickenbacker Causeway in the past five years. The 2012 death of Allen Cohen, led to the creation of the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act, a law that puts larger penalties on motorists who hit cyclists. 

Charles Trainor Jr. / Miami Herald Staff

Miami ranks as one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. with the highest number of red-light running fatalities.

The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) launched an interactive map Wednesday, charting the 7,799 red-light running fatalities that happened nationwide between 2004 and 2013, according to the most recent data from the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration. 

AmateurX / Flickr

The country’s largest auto club is making it easier for Florida parents to comply with a revamped child car seat law.

As of the New Year, state law now requires that children need to be secured in car-safety seats until the age of six.  Previously, kids could transition to regular adult seat belts as young as age four.

Each Friday, throughout the month of January, AAA will be giving away free booster car seats.

AAA Director of Traffic Safety Culture Michele Harris says the organization takes child safety seriously.

Carla Javier / WLRN

According to research at San Francisco State University, Florida is second in the nation in child deaths from heatstrokes in hot cars.

Reggie McKinnon lives in Cape Coral. He lost his daughter Payton to heatstroke in March 2010 after he left her in his car.

InCase / Flickr Creative Commons

Year-round sun, miles of oceanside roadways, few changes in elevation: South Florida should be a paradise for even the most casual of bicyclists. But the state is also home to plenty of thoroughfares with posted speeds in excess of 50 mph., three lanes of traffic in each direction and lots of traffic lights. Not exactly a recipe for safe and happy cycling. 

RELATED: How Much Do You Walk? Livability In South Florida