The Governor’s Highway Safety Association has released statistics on pedestrian accidents for the first half of 2016 as well as estimates for that full year. The estimates predict that pedestrian fatalities will increase 11% in 2016 over 2015, and may number more than 6,000, which would be the first time in 20 years that more than 6,000 pedestrians died in motor vehicle accidents.
Pedestrian deaths account for approximately 15% of all traffic fatalities and most often occur after dark. Other characteristics related to pedestrian deaths include the use of alcohol (about 34% of pedestrians killed in car crashes were legally drunk) and the location (outside of intersections, so in the middle of blocks, on highways, etc.).
California had 359 pedestrian deaths in the first half of 2016, and has the ninth highest rate of pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people in the population. While the national trend shows increases in pedestrian accident deaths, California saw an 11.4% decline in deaths for the first half of 2016 as compared to the first half of 2015.
The report highlighted some initiatives taking place in California that are likely to be contributing to the decrease in pedestrian fatalities:
- September has been declared “Pedestrian Safety Month”
- Pedestrian safety educational materials have been created and distributed, and they have been tailored for specific cultures
- Pedestrian safety equipment has been purchased and distributed, such as reflective arm and leg bands and crossing guard kits
- Collaborations among community organizations, schools, law enforcement, community advocates, medical providers and others have led to initiatives to make streets safer for pedestrians.
Even with the reduction in pedestrian accident deaths statewide, California is still home to the city with the second largest number of pedestrian deaths each year: Los Angeles. In 2014, 97 pedestrians died, and in 2015, 85 pedestrians died in automobile wrecks.
Pedestrian accident lawyers urge pedestrians and drivers to follow basic, common-sense rules that address some of the key contributors to traffic fatalities:
- Do not drive a vehicle or walk in busy traffic areas after drinking alcohol or using drugs, including many over-the-counter drugs.
- When walking at dusk or after dark, walkers, joggers and cyclists should carry a flashlight and/or wear reflective clothing.
- Pedestrians should stay on pedestrian pathways and sidewalks whenever possible, and if walking in a roadway, walk facing traffic while wearing light-colored, reflective clothing and carrying a light.
- Pedestrians should only cross streets at intersections, preferably ones marked for pedestrian crossing and with some kind of traffic signal.
- Automobile drivers should always be alert for non-vehicular traffic.
- Drivers and pedestrians should pay attention to driving and walking and avoid distractions like talking or texting on a smart phone.
Some localities in California have taken steps to make roadways more accommodating for pedestrians, but ultimately, pedestrians and auto drivers have to take individual steps to ensure the safety of two-legged traffic.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in an automobile crash, call the pedestrian accident lawyers at Cerritos Legal today at 562-865-9356 for your free consultation.