It has never been more dangerous to be a pedestrian in California. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, pedestrian fatalities increased by 26 percent between 2014 and 2018. More than 14,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic accidents in California in 2018. This led to millions of dollars in medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. When a negligent driver causes these serious losses – or worse, an unnecessary death – it is important to hold the driver accountable for the damage caused. This deters other drivers from hurting or killing other innocent pedestrians out of negligence in the future. If you or a loved one have been injured in a pedestrian accident, you need an experienced attorney who can protect your legal right to be compensated for your losses.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
It is important for both drivers and pedestrians to understand the causes of pedestrian accidents. This can help reduce the risk of injury or death while on the road. Here are some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents in California:
Distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of car accidents across the world. Smartphones, navigation programs, in-vehicle entertainment systems, and other electronic devices are the most common causes of driver distraction. Many drivers also become distracted by food and drink, or by children or pets who are riding in the vehicle. These distractions can be deadly. Be sure to secure your cargo before you leave. Make sure your children and pets are settled with whatever items they need so you aren’t taking your eyes off the road to attend to them.
Pedestrians are also distracted by smartphones, with fatal results. Always pay attention to your surroundings while you are walking. If you are wearing ear buds, be sure that you can still hear what is going on around you. Be cautious at intersections or when crossing the street. Be sure to communicate with drivers so they know where you will be walking.
Drunk Driving and Drunk Walking
According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than ten thousand victims were killed by drunk drivers in California between 2003 and 2012. Pedestrians are at even greater risk from drunk drivers than other road users. While a vehicle occupant has a seat belt, air bag, and a steel frame for protection during a collision, a pedestrian is subjected to the full force of impact. Drunk driving fatalities are too often pedestrian victims.
Did you know that drunk walking can also increase the risk of a pedestrian accident? The Centers for Disease Control report that one out of every three fatal pedestrian accidents involves a pedestrian with a blood alcohol concentration at or above .08 percent. Pedestrians must also stay off the road while impaired.
Lack of Crosswalks
When there are not enough crosswalks, or crosswalks are spaced far apart, pedestrians might be tempted to cross over the middle of a road. This is a mistake. Many pedestrian accidents occur due to jaywalking. If a pedestrian is not on a sidewalk or crosswalk, it is more likely for drivers to collide with the pedestrian. Always cross at an intersection or designated crosswalk. Take the time to walk to the nearest crosswalk and use it. These few extra seconds could save your life.
Safety Tips for Drivers and Pedestrians
The California Office of Traffic Safety has the following recommendations for drivers:
- Never speed. Even traveling at the posted speed limit might be too fast to avoid pedestrians in the roadway. Be aware of your surroundings.
- Do not allow yourself to drive while distracted. While smartphones and other electronic devices are the main culprits of distracted driving, you should also be careful not to be distracted by food, children, or pets.
- Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Be especially cautious at night, during inclement weather, and any other periods of low visibility.
- Be prepared to yield and to stop. Pedestrians have the right-of-way at any crosswalk or intersection.
- Be cautious when backing up. Distraction and limited visibility can make it difficult to avoid pedestrians.
- Be cautious when driving past schools, daycare centers, playgrounds, and other places where children are present. Young children do not understand the rules of the road. They can be impulsive and dart out into the road unexpectedly. Be prepared to react quickly any time you are driving near children.
The Office also has safety tips for pedestrians:
- Look left, then right, then left before crossing a street.
- Make sure you are visible to drivers. Wear light clothing or use reflective tape when walking at night. Use a flashlight or other light sources to ensure you can be seen.
- Always walk on the sidewalk and cross at intersections or crosswalks. If you stay where drivers expect pedestrians to be, they will be less likely to hit you.
- Don’t assume a driver can see you. Make eye contact and use hand signals to indicate where you are going.
- Impairment due to drinking can increase your chances of being struck while walking. If you plan to walk, do not do so intoxicated.
- Pay attention to your surroundings. Do not let yourself be distracted by your phone, music, pets, or anything else.
Experienced Pedestrian Accident Attorneys for California Injury Victims
The experienced pedestrian accident lawyers at Arash Law have over twenty years of experience. We have collected over 200 million dollars for clients in San Francisco, Riverside, San Jose, San Diego, Sacramento, Sherman Oaks and throughout California. Call (888) 488-1391 to schedule your free consultation with an experienced California pedestrian accident lawyer. Don’t delay – the sooner you have an attorney fighting for you, the better protected your legal rights will be.