Fatal pedestrian accidents in California keep rising. In fact, during the first half of 2019, pedestrian fatalities increased 12 percent. This is more than four times above the national average. Even worse, no one knows exactly why pedestrian fatalities keep rising in California.
California is not the only state with increasing pedestrian fatalities. Six states across the U.S. reported double-digit increases in pedestrian deaths last year. However, five states in the U.S. accounted for nearly half of all pedestrian deaths in the first half of 2019. Those states included Texas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia and California. Pedestrians in those states have a higher rate of losing their lives in pedestrian accidents.
Why Are Pedestrian Accidents and Fatalities on the Rise?
Sadly, safety experts do not know why pedestrian accident fatalities keep rising. However, they have many different theories. Here are some of the theories on why pedestrians are more likely to suffer fatal injuries in accidents.
Today, more people drive larger vehicles, such as SUVs and trucks. When a larger vehicle hits a pedestrian, they can cause more serious, potentially fatal injuries than smaller vehicles. In fact, pedestrians are twice as likely to suffer fatal injuries when hit by SUVs than a smaller car. Over the last decade, pedestrian deaths caused by SUVs increased an astonishing 81 percent.
Speeding and Reckless Driving
Unsafe driving behaviors can kill pedestrians and cyclists on the road. Speeding, reckless driving and aggressive driving all lead to horrific accidents. When a car hits a pedestrian while traveling at a high rate of speed, the results are often fatal. Safety experts believe that more drivers are speeding.
Distracted driving is still on the rise across the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving claimed 3,177 lives in 2017 alone. Distracted driving has also negatively affected California drivers and pedestrians. To help reduce the number of distracted drivers on the road in California, legislators recently enacted a new distracted driving law.
Drunk drivers can increase the chances of causing a fatal pedestrian accident. In 2018, alcohol use contributed to nearly half of all pedestrian fatalities. Intoxicated pedestrians may walk out into oncoming traffic. Likewise, drunk drivers may speed through intersections without seeing pedestrians in their path. Traffic experts theorize that there are more intoxicated and drugged drivers on the road in cities.
Unsafe Road Crossings
City infrastructure needs to keep up with the number of pedestrians in the community. Unfortunately, many cities have old and outdated infrastructures and increased pedestrian traffic. As such, pedestrians must often cross the road unsafely. Pedestrians trying to cross dangerous roads at night are at an increased risk for suffering a fatal accident. In the last ten years, nighttime pedestrian deaths increased 67 percent. Many of these occurred at unsafe road crossings.
What Can Cities Do to Protect Pedestrians?
To protect pedestrians from harm, cities in California can take certain safety steps. One of the best ways to reduce pedestrian fatalities is to improve infrastructure in and around cities. This includes:
- Adding sidewalks and walking paths wherever possible
- Using pedestrian warning signs
- Implementing high-visibility crosswalks
- Imposing parking restrictions to improve pedestrian visibility
- Adjusting traffic signals at intersections to give pedestrians more time
- Using crosswalks and pedestrian signals
- Holding safety classes and workshops to improve safety
- Engage the community in events designed to increase awareness of pedestrians
- Reduce speed limits in areas with high foot traffic
Have More Questions? Contact Our Alameda County Personal Injury Firm
Individuals who suffered an injury in a pedestrian accident need a law firm on their side from the start. Pedestrian injuries are often severe and life changing. Personal injury firm has the experience and knowledge needed to tackle even the most complex pedestrian case. We offer compassionate and aggressive legal representation every step of the way.
Call us at (510) 570-1608 or fill out our confidential contact form for more information. We have offices conveniently located in Oakland and in Emeryville, our attorneys are ready to assist all injured clients throughout the Bay Area. Call us today to learn how we can help you put your life back together again after a serious pedestrian accident.