Almost everybody is a pedestrian at some point in their day, even if they’re just walking through a parking lot on the way to work or to a store — and that’s bad news if you happen to live in California.
Pedestrian deaths continue to climb in this state, jumping 12% in early 2019 alone — which is well beyond the 5% increase seen in the rest of the nation. Why is California seeing these kinds of figures? According to the safety researcher in charge of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), “The number of pedestrian fatalities is increasing every year and nobody knows exactly why.” Nationally, the death rate is rising, but six states, including California, are responsible for fully 47% of all pedestrian deaths in the first half of 2019.
Experts have thrown around a lot of theories about why the numbers keep inching upward. They include:
- The American love affair with large vehicles: Sports utility vehicles (SUVs) are very common, and they are twice as likely to cause a fatal injury than a regular car.
- More walkers and bikers: People are ditching their cars more often and walking or biking for either economic or health reasons. More pedestrians equal to more accidents.
- Unsafe human behavior: Cell phone use can distract both drivers and walkers, and drunk driving and drunk walking are both a problem.
- Poor infrastructure for pedestrians: The lack of crosswalks, poor lighting, and roads designed for speed, not people, can all contribute to pedestrian accidents.
Whatever the reason, it’s smart to be aware of the risks. If you walk anywhere, do everything you can to be visible and stay alert: Your life may depend upon it.
If you are in a pedestrian accident or a loved one is killed, seek help with filing your claim for damages. Your losses may be significant, and you have every right to seek fair compensation.