What is Causing the Spike in Pedestrian Accident Deaths in California?

Fatal pedestrian accidents are up dramatically nationwide over the five year period between 2009 and 2014, with California pedestrian accident fatalities averaging higher than the national average—sometimes much higher. In fact, Palm Springs reports pedestrian deaths quadruple the national average.

What is causing this spike in pedestrian deaths in California?

Authorities believe that there are many contributing factors to the increase in pedestrian accident fatalities including the following:

  • an increase in the number of pedestrians;
  • an increase in the number of homeless;
  • a lack of street lighting; and
  • higher speed limits.

According to California Highway Patrol data, there are three common factors in most pedestrian accident fatalities occurring in Riverside County. The fatal accidents happen at night, in non-intersection areas, and in urban settings.

This supports a theory that city planning of the roadways may be contributing to the increase in pedestrian deaths. If street lighting was improved, and there were more frequent crosswalks or intersections in urban areas, safety may improve. But when crosswalks are more than a half mile apart, as they are in many locations, pedestrians are tempted to jaywalk or cross the street illegally, increasing their odds of being stuck.

Notably, the Center for Disease Control’s stats indicate that 20% of pedestrian accident fatalities nationwide involve seniors.

While all of the above factors may contribute to pedestrian accident fatalities, a Palm Springs police spokesman believes the number one contributing cause of pedestrian-vehicle collisions is a “lack of attention” on the part of both pedestrians and drivers.

The distractibility factor for both groups is no doubt related to society’s addiction to smart phones. Not only are drivers distracted by talking or texting or even checking social media applications while they are driving, but pedestrians are guilty of doing the same while walking in or near traffic. Distracted drivers hit pedestrians and distracted pedestrians walk into traffic.

Add high-tech driven distracted driving to the historic demons of driving while intoxicated or impaired by drugs, reckless or aggressive driving, or speeding and it’s not surprising to see why pedestrian accident deaths are on the rise.

When a pedestrian accident occurs, an investigation ensues to determine who is at fault. The outcome of that investigation as important as it establishes whether a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit is appropriate or likely to be successful.

Two years ago, an elderly Cathedral City man out walking in the dark predawn hours was struck and killed crossing a four-lane boulevard. He was reportedly wearing his hearing aids and eyeglasses, light pants, a white windbreaker, and reflective shoes and was carrying a flashlight. Despite this and the driver allegedly being cited for not wearing her glasses and admitting that she saw the man but didn’t slow down because she thought her would stop, the victim was ruled to be at fault for the crash.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident or if a loved one has been killed, as a result of the negligent, reckless or intentional actions of someone else, it’s important to contact an experienced personally injury attorney as soon as possible, so they can be actively involved in the investigation and maximize your chances for recovery. Compensatory damages very on a case-by-case basis but include such things as medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.

The law firm of J&Y can help you through this difficult time and help you recover for the financial burdens that compound your already devastating loss. We evaluate your claim negotiating with insurance companies and aggressively pursuing a lawsuit if that’s in your best interest.

The law firm of J&Y has helped countless pedestrian accident victims in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Bernardino, and all of California. Call us for a free consultation at 888-806-6722.