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Canyon Country Teen’s Death Raises Concerns about Pedestrian Safety

Residents in the Santa Clarita area have expressed concern after the death of 15-year-old Desiree Renee Lawson who was struck by a vehicle. According to a news report in the Los Angeles Daily News, the teen was pronounced dead the right of December 26, 2016 after being hit by the vehicle in the 27500 block of Sierra Highway in Canyon Country. The driver fled the scene and officials are still looking for her.

Dangerous Conditions Alleged

The speed limit in the area where Lawson was struck and killed is 45 mph. About 7 miles from there another local resident lost her 14-year-old son in the summer of 2015 when a hit-and-run driver ran a red light and killed him at the intersection of Bouquet Canyon and Seco Canyon roads. That man was apprehended and sentenced to 60 days in county jail. The boy’s mother, Teresa Savaikie, has filed a civil wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Santa Clarita, Los Angeles County, the state and SoCal Edison alleging negligence and creating a dangerous condition on public property.

Savaikie has argued that the area needs more pedestrian bridges, patrolling officers, red light cameras and increased penalties for violators. The Daily News reports that between August 2014 and April 2016, there were 11 pedestrian accident deaths in the Santa Clarita Valley. While eight of those fatalities happened in the city of Santa Clarita, two occurred within the state’s jurisdiction while one other incident happened within the county’s unincorporated area.

Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

There are a number of reasons why pedestrian accidents occur. Here are some of the most common causes:

  • Driver negligence: When drivers operate under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, or when they drive while distracted or inattentive, the consequences can be devastating for pedestrians.
  • Pedestrian violations: Pedestrians who dart across the street or walk in areas where they are not supposed to be or walk while looking at their cell phones put themselves in grave danger.
  • Right-of-way issues: Drivers who fail to yield the right of way to pedestrians walking in crosswalks or at intersections cause a majority of pedestrian accidents.
  • Failing to exercise duty of care: Drivers have a duty to scan the roadway for pedestrians and yield to them. But, often, they are unable to stop or slow down for pedestrians if they are impaired, distracted, speeding or operating the vehicle recklessly.
  • Dangerous roadways: When intersections and roadways have insufficient lighting, poor visibility, lack of crosswalks or pedestrian bridges, pedestrians may be put in dangerous situations.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident or if you have a lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, please contact an experienced Los Angeles pedestrian accident attorney who will be able to analyze all facets of the case and hold the at-fault party accountable.

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