This week’s traffic column looks at a new review of speeding fatality data ranks Jacksonville low among major cities, as well as a seminar on making road safer and a road project to make emergency lanes wider on the Buckman Bridge.

Speeding kills.


But according to a new review of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, Jacksonville rates fairly low on the list of traffic fatalities in major cities caused specifically by speeding.


The city ranks 110th out of 111 major cities, according to CompareAutoInsurance.com, an insurance comparison site.


The study said speeding kills about 10,000 people a year nationwide and is responsible for nearly 30 percent of all motor vehicle deaths. The data also showed about 70 percent of American drivers report speeding at least some of the time. The study’s data review showed speeding tends to account for a higher percentage of traffic fatalities in the Midwest and Southeast, Charlotte ranking 15th highest.


North Las Vegas showed 53.9 percent of its traffic fatalities involving speeding from 2013 to 2017. But in Jacksonville, only 6.3 percent of traffic deaths involved speeding. Jacksonville’s speeding-related deaths fall between Orlando, which was the 109th worst, and Montgomery at the bottom.


The speeding-related fatal accident rate has decreased nationwide by about 34 percent, from 4.2 in 2005, to 2.7 per 100,000 people in 2017, the CompareAutoInsurance.com report said. Those among teenagers fell dramatically: 13.2 to 5.8 per 100,000 teenagers for the 2005-2017 span.


Speaking of safety on the streets, the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization hosts a Safe Streets Summit on April 2 at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront at 225 E. Coast Line Drive. The TPO is working on ways to design a transportation network that provides safe access for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders.


The theme of this year’s summit is "Connecting our Communities from the Inside Out," investigating ways of "ensuring safe and accessible streets within our urban neighborhoods."


The summit begins with a 9 a.m. "walkshop," a tour of the nearby Cathedral District, and includes keynote lunch speaker Gil Penalosa, founder of 8 80 Cities, and Charles Brown, senior researcher at Rutger's Voorhees Transportation Center. Tickets are $45 including lunch, while the "walkshop" requires registration, $5 for summit registrants and $10 for those not attending it.


Back to the usual detour information:


Drivers on I-295 West Beltway will see multilane closures over the next two weekends as crews re-stripe portions of the Buckman Bridge to make lanes thinner so the emergency lanes get wider. That means only one lane in each direction may be open to allow that striping, FDOT said.


Construction along the I-295 West Beltway at the Buckman Bridge is being done to improve safety along the corridor, with programmable overhead message boards and additional cameras on the bridge to guide lane use, improve traffic flow and enhance safety. Travel lane widths will be reduced on the Buckman to make room for 8-foot emergency lanes as part of the $10.5 million project, expected to be completed in summer 2021.


The lane closures will also affect the Roosevelt Boulevard exits this weekend and the San Jose Boulevard exits March 13 to 15, FDOT said. The work also means the speed limit will be lowered to 55 mph.


The coronavirus has been a health concern in recent weeks. Now AAA’s latest gas price review in Florida shows drivers may soon see significant savings at the pumps because of it.


Stock market prices for crude oil and gasoline plummeted during the last week of February amid concerns that the coronavirus will reduce global demand for products like jet fuel and gasoline, AAA said. After six consecutive days of declines, the U.S. benchmark for crude oil (WTI) suffered a $9 dip as of Feb. 28, settling at $44.76 a barrel.


Florida gas prices declined 6 cents per gallon in the same period with an average $2.35 per gallon.


We still have city and state officials working on some recent reader questions on traffic or road issues, but are looking for more: send them to dscanlan@jacksonville.com.


Dan Scanlan: (904) 359-4549