Although home to the most iconic landmarks, vibrant cultural scene, and pristine weather year-round, there are stark realities in the City of Angels, one of which is having an increasing number of pedestrian fatalities every year. To address this pressing issue, Mayor Eric Garcetti launched an initiative in 2015 titled, “Vision Zero.” The main goal of Vision Zero was to reduce traffic fatalities by 20% at the end of 2017, and completely be eliminated by 2025. Fast forward two years and unfortunately, that is not the case. Surprisingly, since then it has increased by more than 70%, according to Pollard | Bailey, a personal injury law firm in Los Angeles that recently analyzed pedestrian injuries and fatalities in L.A. County.
Common Causes of Accidents for Pedestrians
One of the main leading causes of a pedestrian accident is due to distracted driving. With technology centered in our daily lives, it’s easy for drivers, especially those stuck in LA traffic, to pay more attention to their phones rather than the roads.
Other common causes of pedestrian accidents involve:
- Driver fatigue
- Reduced visibility
- An intoxicated driver
- Improper lane change
- Left-hand turns
- Failure to obey traffic signs
- Unmarked crosswalks
- Pedestrian failure to use proper sidewalks
Any of these causes have the potential to cause serious bodily injuries, some even death. Although drivers can be at fault for a percentage of pedestrian accidents, it’s still extremely pivotal as a pedestrian to take as many precautions as you can when stepping onto city streets.
New Pedestrian Accident Study
With the surge in pedestrian injuries and deaths in Los Angeles County, a pedestrian accident study was conducted by the law firm Pollard | Bailey to analyze if there were specific times of the day where pedestrians were the most at risk of getting injured or killed. The 2018 data of the study was gathered from California Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, and interestingly enough, a time of day was pinpointed that caused the most danger for pedestrians.
In the study, it was discovered that pedestrian injuries throughout the day coincided with the typical rush hour times, with two spikes occurring sporadically:
The first spike of pedestrian injuries occurs from the morning hours between 7 AM – 9 AM. In this time frame, over 300 pedestrians suffered injuries. This could be related to people’s morning rush responsibilities such as dropping kids off at school or driving to work. The second spike occurs much later in the day, between the hours of 5 PM – 8 PM with over 400 injuries. 5 PM – 8 PM is one the busiest time frames in the world. Thousands of workers are heading home from their workday, school is out, people jogging throughout the town, while all sharing one area – it’s no surprise that pedestrians are at most risk in this time frame.
In regards to pedestrian deaths, the study showed pedestrian fatalities to be the highest in the evening from 5 PM – 11 PM, with a consistent finding of deaths from midnight to 3 AM. This can be associated with driver fatigue, as well as drivers driving under the influence.
Preventive Ways to Avoid Getting Struck
Given the results of the pedestrian accident study, it’s safe to assume that the lives of pedestrians are at great risk every day. Although in plenty of cases pedestrians were not at fault nor caused an accident to occur, there are some safety measures that can be taken to protect yourself on the streets. It’s important to become a defensive walker on the streets, rather than a distracted walker.
Safety tips to take note of are as follows:
- Be alert
- Put your phone away
- Look both ways before crossing the street
- Make yourself visible to drivers
- Obey all traffic signals
- Be on the lookout for turning traffic
- Do not spend time on the street other than crossing
What to Do if You Are a Victim
If you are ever in the unfortunate event of being a victim of a pedestrian accident, immediately call emergency responders. Call the police and file a police report – this is critical should you find yourself filing a claim. Next, you’ll want to talk to an experienced lawyer that specializes in pedestrian accidents to discuss your case. Most importantly, see a doctor to treat any external and internal injuries caused by the accident.