In spite of local cities’ goals to make their streets safer, the number of pedestrians dying in Southern California has increased for the last decade and the numbers only continue to go up, according to a new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). According to a report by the Los Angeles Daily News, the number of people who were killed while walking on the streets or highways increased 27 percent from 2007 to 2016 nationwide. The Daily News cited GHSA’s publication “Spotlight on Highway Safety: Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State” that was released March 1.
A Serious Issue for Pedestrians
During the same period, other traffic deaths decreased by 14 percent, the study found. California led all states during the first half of 2017 with 352 pedestrian deaths. Those who study these issues say the reasons vary from more people walking to work to an increase in vehicle miles traveled. The report also links increases in pedestrian deaths in states that have legalized recreational marijuana and the significant increase in smartphone use over the last 10 years. This, of course, causes both drivers and pedestrians to become distracted by the electronic devices.
According to the GHSA study, Los Angeles County ranked first for pedestrian deaths in 2016 with 265. Orange County was not too far behind. It was 10th with 63 pedestrian fatalities. San Diego was seventh with 71 deaths. In Los Angeles County, the problem is particularly serious. The city of Los Angeles alone saw 135 pedestrian deaths in 2017, which means pedestrian deaths in the city rose 80 percent from 2015 to 2017.
Possible Solutions to the Problem
Los Angeles officials have tried to take a few steps to curb pedestrian accidents including setting aside more resources for law enforcement to catch speeding motorists. One of the suggestions the study made was to include beacon-flashing crosswalks between controlled intersections and more sidewalks and street islands that would allow pedestrians to safely cross halfway at a time.
It is important that both motorists and pedestrians remember to be safe when they are on the road. Motorists should put away their cell phones and focus on driving. They are also required under the law to yield the right of way to pedestrians in marked and unmarked crosswalks, and exercise care and caution in residential areas and school zones where there is likely to be more pedestrian traffic. It is also crucial that drivers stick to speed limits. If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who can help you better understand your legal rights and options.