California, and Los Angeles County in particular, is not known for having the best drivers. In fact, California – together with four other states – made up 47% of the country’s pedestrian deaths in 2018, even though those five states comprised only 33% of the population.
Increase in pedestrian fatalities in the past decade
Unfortunately, the number of pedestrians killed in motor vehicle accidents has increased over the past decade. In 2009, 4,109 pedestrians died in accidents. By 2018, that number increased to 6,590, representing a 53% increase. This change is in stark contrast to the rate of fatalities in other traffic accidents, which went up only 2% in the last 10 years.
Why are pedestrians at such a higher risk than passengers?
Obviously, pedestrians do not have the same level of protection that drivers or passengers do when out on the road. With vehicles becoming increasingly safe over the past generation or so, there is less safety risk to people riding inside a vehicle. Though some people may successfully call for cities to add additional traffic signs or crosswalks, pedestrians are ultimately defenseless against a reckless driver.
Causes of pedestrian accidents
Pedestrians are more likely to be affected by trends or bad habits picked up across the country, such as texting while driving. Another change stems from the increase in popularity of SUVS and other light vehicles. A study by the Governors Highway Safety Administration found that pedestrians are more than twice as likely to die if struck by an SUV or other truck than by another type of vehicle. Despite the role they can play in pedestrian accidents, light vehicle sales comprised 69% of new vehicle sales in 2018, as compared to 48% in 2009.
If you have been involved in a traffic accident in California, either as a pedestrian, driver, or passenger, speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as you can. If your accident was caused by another person’s negligence or recklessness, you may be able to seek payment from the other driver.