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46% Surge in Pedestrian Deaths Alarms Public Safety Advocates

risk factors for pedestrian accidents

The reputable Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently released a paper studying the rise in pedestrian fatalities during 2009 to 2016. The authors found that, during this short time period, 46% more pedestrians lost their lives in accidents compared to previous years. The surge in fatalities is alarming to public safety advocates, some of whom have suggested technological and road design improvements that may help curb this rising trend.

Public safety study reveals alarming safety failures

The study authors evaluated data extracted from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and General Estimates System. They examined the linear progression of changes during the study period in both pedestrian deaths per 100 crash involvements and in horsepower per 1,000 pounds of weight. Poisson regression was examined to evaluate factors such as roadway, environmental, personal, and vehicle.

The results indicated that, during the study period, pedestrian deaths reached their low period in 2010. From 2010 to 2015, pedestrian deaths per 100 crash involvements increased 29%. During the entire study period, the largest increase in pedestrian deaths occurred in urban regions. This represented a 54% increase. On arterial roadways, there was a 67% increase in deaths, and at non-intersections, there was a 50% increase in deaths. Crashes in dark conditions increased too, with a 56% rise in fatalities. Additionally, the number of SUV involved in fatal pedestrian accidents increased by 82%.

Suggestions for safety improvements

The authors at the IIHS concluded their study by suggesting that transportation agencies focus their efforts on areas that represented the greatest increases in pedestrian fatalities. Specifically, the authors recommended that urban arterials be improved by road diets, median crossing islands, pedestrian hybrid beacons, and automated speed enforcement. The visibility of pedestrians during nighttime hours could be enhanced with better vehicle headlights and better roadway lighting.

Pedestrian fatalities in California: A look at the recent statistics

Here in Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti recently launched a high-profile campaign to end traffic fatalities entirely. The overall number of traffic fatalities, including pedestrian deaths, has indeed fallen slightly. Recent statistics show that during 2017, there were 244 traffic fatalities, including drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. This is a six percent decline in traffic accident deaths.

However, pedestrian fatalities have surged in Los Angeles. In 2015, 74 pedestrians were killed on the city’s streets. During 2017, that number increased to 134.

In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, Mayor Garcetti said, “Every life is important and we must keep pushing to do better. Safety is our top priority, and we will continue to set bold goals.”

Were you affected by a pedestrian accident in southern California?

At Ellis Injury Law, our pedestrian accident lawyers in Los Angeles provide vigorous legal advocacy services to victims and their families. We firmly believe that one life lost is one too many, and we’ll do everything possible to help your family pursue justice in the court system. We invite victims or their family members to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation case review at our law firm. Call us toll-free at 888-828-5603 or fill out the contact form on our website.

Additional resources about pedestrian accidents

  1. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, An examination of the increases in pedestrian motor vehicle crash fatalities during 2009–16, http://www.iihs.org/bibliography/topic/2160
  2. Los Angeles Times, Pedestrian deaths surge in L.A., overall traffic fatalities down slightly, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-vision-zero-20180227-story.html