The Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Program


In an effort to limit the number of pedestrian fatalities in Pasco County, the Pasco County Sherriff’s Office has begun to implement and conduct a Pedestrian Safety Enforcement program funded by Florida’s Department of Transportation. The program includes specific phases that are aimed at educating Pasco county pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists about pedestrian-motorist traffic laws; and also enforcing those laws through warnings and written citations.

The program was initiated in response to the increasing number of pedestrian fatalities in Pasco county last year: 24 pedestrians were killed, 12th highest in the state. Hillsborough County had even more, with 34 pedestrians killed as a result of

unsafe commuting; Pinellas County had the most pedestrian deaths in the area, with 41 members of the county falling victim to careless driving.

Attorney Dane Heptner is currently handling a case surrounding the death of St. Petersburg chef who was tragically killed in an accident as he attempted to cross the street in downtown St. Pete after leaving work. The driver of the vehicle in that case was in the process of fleeing and eluding the St. Pete Police Department after an attempted traffic stop. The driver had an arrest history of fleeing and eluding police officers and possession and distribution of drugs.

Across the Bay, 17 year-old Chamberlain High School student Alexis Miranda lost her life when attempting to cross the street on her way to class. Her death sparked county-wide sympathy and sadness in the face of another teen gone too soon.

These pedestrian deaths have not only prompted the Pasco County Sherriff’s Office to take action to educate the community about safe community, but they have also inspired a sense of duty and responsibility for the attorneys here at Perenich Caulfield Avril & Noyes. In September the firm sponsored a “Read & Play” project at Ponce De Leon elementary where books and sports balls were purchased for the third grade classes and were distributed following a presentation about safe commuting, bicycling, and riding in the car.

Attorney Dane Heptner has also made it a point to speak to local high school classes about the importance of safe commuting to and from school. In fact, last year he gave a presentation on that subject to Chamberlain High School – the same school Alexis Miranda was commuting to on the day of she was killed. Dane Heptner is scheduled to return to Clearwater High School and Palm Harbor University High School to speak to the Driver’s Education classes about safe commuting for a second year in a row. He also sits on two different Bar Association committees that pair volunteer-attorney-speakers with local high school classes.

If you have questions about safe commuting or how you can make your child’s trip to and from school safer, contact Dane Heptner or the attorneys at Perenich Caulfield Avril & Noyes.

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