Out of a Christmastime tragedy in Brevard County comes a legislative bill intended to make crosswalks on higher-speed roads much safer.
On Monday, the Florida House of Representatives passed, by a 118-1 vote, the Sophia Nelson Pedestrian Safety Act, which calls for the replacing of the familiar yellow flashing lights at crosswalks with red ones on four-lane or higher-speed roads. Yellow lights would only be allowed on two-lane roads with speed limits up to 35 mph.
As part of the bill, which has a companion Senate bill (Senate bill 1000) currently in it’s Appropriations Committee, the Florida Department of Transportation would ask federal officials for authorization to install the red-light versions, which would have to be installed within a year.
The bill is in honor of Sophia Nelson, a 12-year-old who on Dec. 22 was struck, by a car that failed to yield, crossing Highway A1A in Satellite Beach at a crosswalk with a flashing yellow beacon. Nelson suffered massive brain injuries, and she was taken off of life support on Christmas Day. The 83-year-old woman driver was cited for failure to stop at a crosswalk.