Los Angeles County had the highest number of pedestrian deaths in the U.S. in 2014. According to a study conducted by the Auto Insurance Center, which looked into data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 281 pedestrians were killed in Los Angeles County in 2014 alone. The number of fatalities in Los Angeles County is nearly three times the number in Maricopa County, Arizona, the second deadliest county for pedestrians in the nation.
San Bernardino County ranked sixth with 66 pedestrian fatalities and San Diego County ranked fourth with 84 deaths. The AIC says Southern California has a high number of pedestrian fatalities due to a mix of heavy traffic and high population. Despite the fact the other metropolitan areas such as New York, Boston, and Seattle also have high populations, they might not have as many pedestrian deaths due to the higher use of public transportation.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
There are a number of reasons why pedestrian accidents occur. Here are some of the most common causes:
- Failure to yield: Under California Vehicle Section 21950 (a), all motorists are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who are walking in marked or unmarked crosswalks. However, a number of accidents, particularly in Southern California, occur because drivers fail to yield the right-of-way or are negligent and don’t pay attention to pedestrians in crosswalks.
- Distracted driving: The use of cell phones and other electronic devices is impairing drivers. Driver inattention can prove fatal for pedestrians.
- Drunk or drugged driving: When a driver is impaired, he or she lacks the judgment and skill necessary while driving. This puts the driver’s passengers and those on the roadway, including pedestrians, at great risk.
- Dangerous roadways: In addition to dangerous drivers, hazardous roadways and intersections also cause or contribute to pedestrian accidents. Busy intersections or crosswalks, which are not properly designed or lack necessary safety features are examples of what makes roadways dangerous for pedestrians.
If You Have Been Injured
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, it is important to understand that you have legal rights. Injured victims can seek compensation from the at-fault parties for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and economic distress. Injured victims would also be well advised to contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who will analyze all aspects of the incident and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.