Per a new Dangerous By Design report issued by Smart Growth America, a non-profit dedicated to safe urban planning, pedestrian deaths are continuing to skyrocket in California and the rest of the United States in 2021. The time period between 2016 and 2019 was the deadliest period for pedestrians since 1990. Between 2010 and 2019, there was a 45% spike in pedestrian deaths. In 2019 alone, there were 6,237 pedestrian deaths on record.
What’s contributing to this rise in pedestrian deaths?
There are many hypotheses regarding the continual rise in annual pedestrian deaths. In general, ever since the National Maximum Speed Limit law was fully repealed in 1995, states’ speed limits have been creeping up. Even in urban areas, speed limits are often set with travel timeliness in mind, sometimes being prioritized over pedestrian safety.
How does California fare in pedestrian safety?
According to the Dangerous By Design 2021 report, California is the 16th deadliest state for pedestrians. The only metro areas within California that ranked within the top 10 most dangerous for pedestrians were Bakersfield, at number 2, and Stockton, at number 15.
Implications of this report for personal injury law
Regardless of how well safety measures like signalized crosswalks work in individual cities in California, the onus is still on drivers to protect pedestrians. It’s critical to remember that California’s speed limits are not set as targets to hit but rather as the maximum legal speed in most cases.
Personal injury law is paramount for holding reckless and irresponsible drivers accountable for pedestrian deaths and injuries. Individuals who have fallen victim to driver negligence may want to pursue a lawsuit to seek compensation for their medical expenses and other losses.