A new pedestrian safety report released by Smart Growth America has ranked California as the 16th most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians. According to an article on Patch.com, the report ranked Bakersfield as the state’s deadliest metro area for pedestrians. It’s the seventh most dangerous city in the country for pedestrians with 247 fatalities during that period.
But Bakersfield is not the only city in California to make this list of the 100 most dangerous cities for pedestrians. Other metro areas that ranked poorly in the state include Stockton-Lodi (34th), Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade region (46th), San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara (48th), Los Angeles-Long Beach (50th), Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura (61st) and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward (87th).
Increase in Pedestrian Fatalities
Washington D.C.-based Smart Growth America says it advocates for people who want to live and work in great neighborhoods and that it believes in “smart growth solutions.” According to the report, more than 49,000 people were hit and killed by drivers nationwide between 2008 and 2017. That adds up to about 13 pedestrian deaths every day nationwide. The report eloquently says that the number “is the equivalent of a jumbo jet full of people crashing, with no survivors, every month.”
The number of pedestrian deaths around the country is only growing. In the past decade, pedestrian fatalities increased by 35 percent, with 2016 and 2017 accounting for the highest years since 1990. The report ranks metro areas using an index that measures how dangerous it is for pedestrians based on the number of deaths.
Researchers point out that pedestrians in the South are particularly unsafe with the region accounting for nine out of 10 most dangerous metros. Florida, Alabama, Delaware, Louisiana and Mississippi rank as the top five deadliest states for pedestrians. The report also calls on the federal government to prioritize safer streets.
Dangerous Roadways and Driver Negligence
While dangerously designed roadways are often a factor in pedestrian accidents, driver negligence also plays a role. With the significant increase in the use of smartphones, drivers who are distracted while driving by technology tend to cause a number of pedestrian accidents in residential neighborhoods, school zones and at busy intersections. Another major cause of fatal pedestrian accidents is drivers failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks. Impaired driving is also responsible for a number of tragic pedestrian accidents we see in Southern California.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, or if you have lost a loved one to a pedestrian accident, an experienced California pedestrian accident lawyer can help you better understand your legal rights and options. Depending on the nature of the incident, you may be able to hold a number of negligent parties accountable including but not limited to the driver, his or her employer and the governmental entity responsible for designing/maintaining the roadway.