ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — More pedestrians die in the state of Florida than anywhere else in the country, with most of those deaths occurring across parts of Tampa Bay and the Orlando area, a recent study shows.

Smart Growth America found drivers hit and killed 49,340 people who were walking on streets across the country between 2008-17. Of those people, 5,433 were in Florida.

Broken down by metro area, most were in South Florida at 1,549 deaths, with 900 in Hillsborough and Pinellas county and 656 in the Orlando area.

If people are not walking more and driving has increased, why is this happening? Smart Growth America says it's because the way cities have built out their streets have not differed much in a decade.

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"In fact, we are continuing to design streets that are dangerous for all people," the study says. "Furthermore, federal and state policies, standards, and funding mechanisms still produce roads that prioritize high speeds for cars over safety for all people."

Smart Growth America on its website says it invites people to "think strategically about building better cities and towns." Part of that involves work with transportation officials to find cheaper and safer ways for people to get around.

The organization calls upon the federal government to create a "Complete Streets" policy that would require state departments of transportation and planning organizations to make plans for all people who use streets.

Among the Top 20 metro areas, Florida is listed nine times, including the Sarasota and Lakeland areas.

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