A tragic accident occurred this past week in Panama City Beach. A pair of Panama City Beach teenagers were hit by a truck while walking. It happened last Wednesday evening on Alf Coleman Road near the intersection of Back Beach Road. Specifically, a 16-year-old and 15-year-old were walking with their backs to oncoming traffic. A Chevy Silverado truck driven by a 37-year-old male hit them. Officials say the teens were not wearing any reflective clothing.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, one of the victims died Thursday morning. Her brother was taken to the hospital with what Troopers described as “non-incapacitating injuries” when the accident happened Wednesday night. No charges have been filed in this case.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the deceased and injured teenagers.
We will watch this story to see what the investigation reveals. We hope that the teenagers were on the grass or a sidewalk even though they were not wearing reflective clothing. It is known that pedestrians are among the most vulnerable users of the road. According to the CDC, in the next 24 hours, on average, 445 people will be treated in an emergency department for traffic-related pedestrian injuries.1 In the next 2 hours, on average, one pedestrian will die from injuries in a traffic crash. More than 4,743 pedestrians were killed in traffic deaths in 2012, and another 76,000 were injured. With numbers like these, it’s critical that you understand the risks and learn how to stay safe.
What can you do if you are walking at night:
· Make eye contact with drivers when crossing busy streets.
· Wear bright colors or reflective clothing if you are walking near traffic at night.
· Carry a flashlight when walking in the dark.
· Walk on the sidewalk whenever possible. If sidewalks are not available, walk facing traffic on the edge of the road, as far from the travel lane as possible.
· Walk defensively and be ready for unexpected events. Know what’s going on around you and don’t allow your vision to be blocked by clothing, hats, or items that you are carrying.
· Watch the pedestrian signals, not the traffic signal, and follow the “WALK/DON’T WALK” lights (they’re set up to help you cross safely). Look for pedestrian push buttons for crossing protection at signalized intersections.
· Watch out for parked vehicles. Parking lots can be as dangerous as streets.