Orange County Partners with FDOT to Urge Drivers to “Stop on Red”
When Bradenton, Fla. resident Melissa Wandall was nine months pregnant in 2003, her husband was tragically killed by another motorist who was distracted and ran a red-light. That preventable tragedy, prompted Wandall to become an advocate for red-light safety and she championed the 2010 passage of the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act. Today, Wandall is president of the National Coalition for Safer Roads.
Wandall along with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), were joined by Orange County Government and multiple partners on Aug. 10, 2018 at the intersection of Silver Star Road and Pine Hills Road to remind everyone to stop on red, including when making a right turn.
The initiative was part of “National Stop on Red Week,” which is held every year during the first full week of August. Additional participating agencies in the event included LYNX, Orange County Public Schools, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the Pine Hills Neighborhood Improvement District, Orange County District 6 Commissioner Victoria P. Siplin’s office and Bike/Walk Central Florida.
All of the agencies conducted an on-street safety outreach at the intersection of State Road 438 (Silver Star Road) and Pine Hills Road. This particular intersection is in an urban metropolitan area, which is close to the Pine Hills Trail and has seven LYNX bus routes, so drivers must be especially careful in this area because of additional pedestrians and bicyclists. Participants provided safety prizes and packets to those pedestrians who used the crosswalk properly and motorists who stopped on red before turning right at a crosswalk.
Orange County Public Schools recently welcomed more than 200,000 students back to school, so all motorists should use extra caution.
“Unincorporated Orange County has a total of nearly 600 traffic lights and 320 school zone flashers,” said Christy Lofye, manager of Orange County’s Traffic Engineering Division. “Public Works employees came out to this event to support Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs’ Walk-Ride-Thrive! Pedestrian Safety Initiative, which was established to maintain a coordinated and comprehensive response to Orange County’s pedestrian and bicycle safety issues. Since the program’s inception in 2015, Orange County has made significant strides in pedestrian safety and intersection improvements.”
In fact, Mayor Jacobs earmarked $15 million from her INVEST in Our Home for Life initiative for pedestrian safety and intersection improvements. These improvements have and will continue to provide sidewalks, crosswalks, signals, turn lanes, updated signage and other necessary safety improvements.
“The reason for this important outreach with FDOT and our partners is to educate people and hold them accountable to help save lives,” said Wandall. “If a preventable red-light running tragedy happened in my life, it can happen in anyone’s life. Safety doesn’t happen by accident. Protect our most vulnerable residents and visitors and follow all the traffic laws.”
Photo Caption: Orange County Government participated in the “National Stop on Red Week” event in the Pine Hills area on Aug 10, 2018. Public Works representatives supported the event as part of Mayor Teresa Jacobs’ Walk-Ride-Thrive initiative. Pictured are (L-R) Lauren Torres, Christy Lofye and Martina Desjardins.