JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A newly released study found that Florida is the deadliest place to walk in America, and Jacksonville is among the leading cities for pedestrian deaths.
Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition concluded the deaths were in part due to unsafe roads and a lack of sidewalks and crosswalks.
Michael England's family knows the pain of losing someone to a pedestrian crash.
DOCUMENT: Dangerous by Design study
England was killed while walking on the Northside in 2013. The driver who hit him didn’t stop and has never been caught.
“My life changed forever. I will always remember that day,” England's mother, Bridget Massie, said. “They told me that he was walking down the road and they hit him at a high rate of speed."
A new study that looked at fatal pedestrian crashes from 2005 to 2014 found Florida was the most dangerous place to walk in America. The Jacksonville area was the fourth most dangerous of all cities on the list, with 379 deaths over nine years.
The Northeast Florida Safety Council is working with other agencies to solve the problems.
Ron Page, of the safety council, said the statistics don't surprise him.
“Florida is one of the fastest-growing states in the country and, unfortunately, I've got the statistics as far as what causes most of these accidents, and a lot of people think it's cellphone use that is one of the considerations, but the No. 1 problem is speeding,” Page said.
Experts said drivers always need to be careful, alert and ready for anybody who might dart out in front of them.
But pedestrians also need to be responsible. They are often at fault in the crashes, because they walk out in front of vehicles and do not use crosswalks.
“Get away from the roadway as much as possible when you're walking. Wear light clothing. Wear reflective material. Wear lighting if you have that,” said Master Sgt. Dylan Bryan, with the Florida Highway Patrol.
State troopers said the new study shows everyone needs to pay better attention to keep roads safe.
“It is something that we are concerned with,” Bryan said. “It has gotten my attention, so I do want to look at it a little bit closer.”
The Florida Department of Transportation has several projects in Northeast Florida to make the roads safer for pedestrians, including building sidewalks and crosswalks. For more information, go to www.nflroads.com.