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City of Destin searching for solutions as pedestrian-involved collisions continue

City of Destin searching for solutions as pedestrian-involved collisions continue

Two people have died in car-pedestrian collisions on Highway 98 in the city of Destin since the beginning of the year.

Last year, Destin loaned the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) money to install 12 new crosswalks along the highway with hopes to reduce pedestrian accidents.

Both of the accidents this year happened in the early morning hours, but business owners with a prime view of 98 all day say it's the pedestrians causing these fatalities.

Shop owners like David Baxter said just crossing the street can be very dangerous.

"First thing, they need to cross at the crosswalks. What they'll do, they'll line up at 98 and just run over to the median as quick as they can and hope to make it. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't, but they've also caused accidents in there, too. Wrecks, as well," Baxter said.

He doesn't think college kids are the main violators though.

"During the spring and the summer, when there is tons of traffic down here, people are in just such a hurry to get to the other side of the street. They don't even think about it. They'll run even if its just 10 feet between cars and hope they can make it and hope the traffic is slow enough that they won't get hurt," Baxter said.

Last year the city loaned money to FDOT so they could fast-track the construction of 12 new pedestrian crosswalks last year.

Despite the improvements, the deaths keep happening on the highway.

"None of these accidents was the victim in the crosswalk. None of them did activate the light at the crosswalk, despite the fact that at least two of them were right to have the crosswalk," Destin Mayor Scott Fischer said.

He said the victims are not the only ones who suffer.

"The victim stepped out in front of her, there was nothing she could do. And we obviously have a victim, we have a driver thinking about the person that she hit with her car for the rest of her life and wondering what she could have done differently. And in truth, there was nothing. If you or I had been driving that vehicle the same thing would have happened," Mayor Fischer said.

Baxter's solution is more lighting.

"They need to light it up a lot more on these dangerous intersections, one streetlight is not enough," Baxter said.

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