Pedestrian Accidents Disproportionately Affect Low-Income Areas
Federal crash statistics show that after more than three decades of declining pedestrian fatalities, the number began to climb in 2010. Since 2010, nearly 40,000 pedestrians have died. But, an in-depth article in the Los Angeles Times points out that pedestrians in low-income, predominantly minority neighborhoods in cities such as Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston and Orlando, are more at risk of being involved in a pedestrian accident. These are often pedestrians who tend to walk to work.
Working Public Affected
In Los Angeles, from 2009 to 2013, nearly two-thirds of pedestrian deaths and severe injuries occurred on just 6 percent of city streets, primarily arterials, according to a city analysis of CHP data obtained by the LA Times. Pedestrians use the same arterial roads because this is where retail stores and bus routes tend to be located. Many of these roads, which are designed for vehicles traveling at speeds of 40 mph or higher, are hostile to pedestrians.
They have sidewalks that abut the travel lanes with minimal separation and lack proper lighting or median island, posing more dangers for pedestrians. Numbers cited by the Times also show that the average annual death rate for pedestrians between 2008 and 2017 was 1.5 per 100,000 people in the United States. However, in census tracts where the median annual income is $36,000 or less, the death rate was 2.5 per 100,000 people.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
There are a number of reasons why pedestrian accidents occur. However, here are some of the most common causes:
- Impaired driving: When a driver operates a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, there is the increased risk that he or she might strike a pedestrian on the roadway. Often, we see that impaired drivers who cause major pedestrian accidents fail to yield the right of way to pedestrians or lose control of their vehicles.
- Distracted drivers: When drivers are looking at their cell phones, texting or are engaged in some other activity that distracts them while they are behind the wheel, there is an increased possibility that they might cause an accident.
- Failing to yield: Motorists are required under California law to yield the right of way to pedestrians who are walking in marked or unmarked crosswalks. Pedestrians who are distracted, impaired or not paying attention tend to cause these types of accidents.
- Dangerous roadways: Lack of proper crosswalks, inadequate lighting, lack of signage and other issues have the potential to make a roadway or intersection dangerous for pedestrians, increasing the risk of a deadly crash.
- If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, or if you have lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, please contact an experienced Los Angeles pedestrian accident lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.