In Los Angeles, numerous individuals are injured or killed in automobile accidents, despite the city’s efforts to reduce traffic accidents through its “Vision Zero” policy which was implemented in 2016. The stated goal of the policy is to reduce the number of traffic injuries in the city, ultimately reaching zero traffic fatalities by 2025. So far, it may have had the opposite effect as the number of accidents and fatalities continue to rise. That’s the bad news. The good news that automobile accident victims can recover damages by pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.
J&Y Law Firm routinely represents car accident victims in L.A. and has a proven track record of obtaining meaningful compensation for our clients. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident that was not your fault, our personal injury attorneys will aggressively fight for your rights so that you can focus on recovering and moving on with your life.
The Grim Statistics
Overall, in 2016 there were about 55,360 traffic accidents in L.A., which represents a 7 percent increase over the previous year, and a 20 percent spike from 2014. The accidents involved collisions between motorists as well as between drivers and pedestrians or bicyclists. Additionally, these accidents resulted in 260 deaths, an increase of almost 43 percent over the previous year. Even worse, the rate of traffic fatalities this year is outpacing 2016, which runs counter to the city’s goal of reducing traffic deaths by 20 percent in 2017. Moreover, the increase in traffic deaths in the city also outpaces national trends. According to the National Safety Council, there was only a 6 percent increase in traffic deaths across the nation in 2016 compared to the previous year.
Of particular concern are the high number of pedestrian-vehicle accidents in L.A. that result in fatalities. On average, pedestrians account for nearly half of the deaths in traffic accidents, although they are only involved in 14 percent of the collisions. So far this year, pedestrian fatalities are up by more than 50 percent compared to 2015, according to LAPD data. The high number of pedestrian deaths, in turn, can be attributed to vehicle speeds. According to a federal study of crash data, a pedestrian has a 10 percent chance of dying when struck by a car traveling at 20 mph, but the risk of death climbs to 80 percent if the vehicle is moving at 40 mph.
Additionally, motorcyclists are involved in 3 percent of Los Angeles accidents, but comprise 15 percent of the fatalities. Motorcyclists can be injured in accidents when motorists turn, pull out into traffic, or change lanes while failing to see the motorcycles. In short, this means that pedestrians and motorcyclists account for a combined 65 percent of traffic accident fatalities.
Reasons for the Rise in Traffic Accident Fatalities in Los Angeles
There are a number of factors involved in car accidents in the city, and certain corridors experience the most serious injuries and largest rate of deaths. After collecting and analyzing data to identify these danger zones, city officials released a plan targeting roughly 450 miles of roadways. Although these streets account for about 6 percent of the city’s roadways, they account for two-thirds of the pedestrian deaths. This includes broad thoroughfares such as Venice Boulevard in West L.A, Sepulveda Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley and Temple Street in Filipinotown. The Transportation Department intends to target these and other corridors by making overhauls aimed at slowing drivers down and reducing the risk of collisions and fatalities. These improvements include left-turn arrows, higher visibility crosswalks, speed feedback signs, widening sidewalks and adding medians to eliminate traffic lanes.
Another reason for the rise in traffic accidents in L.A. is that there are more vehicles on the road. According to the Transportation Department, car sales and registrations across Southern California continue to rise, due in part to the improving economy and low gas prices. Finally, drivers are also becoming increasingly distracted in their cars because of onboard technology like satellite radios, mobile devices and GPS systems. Despite state laws prohibiting the use of cellphones for talking and texting, distracted driving continues to be a leading cause of car accidents in the state.
Ultimately, a key factor in many traffic accidents is speeding. At issue is whether the LAPD’s enforcement efforts are being hampered by a state law preventing police officers from using radar devices to catch speeding drivers, unless traffic studies have been performed to determine patterns of speeding. According to police data, the number of speeding tickets issued each year fell from 100,000 in 2010, to about 17,000 in 2015.
Drivers Duty of Care
It is important to note that pedestrians always have the right of way in Los Angeles, as well as throughout the state of California. Moreover, drivers are required to exercise reasonable care, drive safely, and avoid causing injuries to other motorists and pedestrians. Drivers who fail to do so, whether by speeding, violating traffic laws, driving while distracted, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, can be held liable for injuries resulting from their negligence.
Why You Should Call the J&Y Law Firm
The experienced car accident attorneys at the J&Y Law Firm are dedicated to holding negligent drivers accountable. We are well versed in the applicable traffic laws and have extensive experience handling personal injury claims. By leveraging our legal knowledge and negotiating skills, we help our clients obtain the maximum compensation. If you or a loved one has been injured in a traffic collision, call our office today for a free consultation or complete the contact form on our website.