For the past few years, California has had the unfortunate distinction of ranking as the state with the most pedestrian fatalities. According to The Los Angeles Times, throughout 2013 and 2014, about 1,400 people in the state lost their lives in catastrophic pedestrian accidents. Tragically, an early analysis of data from 2015 indicates that California remains the deadliest state for pedestrians and that these tragic accidents might even be growing more common.
After reviewing data for the first six months of 2015, the Governors Highway Safety Association found that California once again led the nation in pedestrian deaths, with 347 reported fatalities. According to The San Francisco Chronicle, the analysis found that California was the eleventh worst state for pedestrian deaths per capita. Alarmingly, the state also experienced a 7 percent increase over the number of pedestrian deaths reported during the first half of 2014.
This increase mirrors a national rise in fatal pedestrian accidents. Extrapolating based on data from the first half of 2015, the GHSA researchers estimated that pedestrian fatalities rose 10 percent from 2014 to 2015. If the full analysis of last year’s data corroborates this estimate, the increase in pedestrian fatalities will represent the largest one to occur in more than two decades.
This rise in deadly pedestrian accidents may be due to several factors. The GHSA study notes that the following general trends may increase the risk of these accidents:
Unfortunately, the high rate of pedestrian accidents in California may also be partly attributable to careless behaviors on the part of motorists. Increased driver distraction raises the risk of accidents, and alcohol use is a factor in many pedestrian wrongful death cases. According to an Amalgamated Transit Union report, poor bus designs that make it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians may also cause many needless deaths.
Tragically, these recent findings suggest that pedestrian accidents may cause many injuries and deaths in California this year. Victims or their family members should understand that legal recourse might be available if one of these accidents occurs due to negligence on the part of another party. A pedestrian accident lawyer may be able to offer further advice regarding the available remedies and the claim process.