California Pedestrian Accident Statistics

The number of pedestrians killed by vehicles increased seven percent during the first half of 2015, according to a study by nonprofit traffic organization, Governors Highway Safety Assn. The increase comes despite more focus on street safety. Precise numbers show that 347 people were struck and killed from January to June 2015. During the same period the previous year, 323 people were killed.

California pedestrian accident statistics consistently put the state in one of the top spots when it comes to pedestrian fatalities. Despite efforts by the state to increase auto safety and create more pedestrian-friendly zones, the percentage of pedestrian deaths continue to increase when compared to all other types of motor vehicle deaths.

The 12-hour period from 6pm to 6am is when 70% of pedestrian fatalities occured, with 70% of victims being male. More than one-third of these incidents involved blood alcohol levels over the legal limit. Speed also played a major part in these accidents. Based on data from 2013, 19% of pedestrian deaths occurred where the speed limit was below 35 mph, compared to more than 25% of all deaths occurring where the speed limit was between 35-40 mph.

Compared to other states across the nation, California ranks at 17 for pedestrian risk. The areas with the highest fatalities are Bakersfield, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Stockton-Lodi, Modesto, and Fresno. These areas have certain similarities. Like many areas in the state, they were developed as regions where transportation via cars and vehicles would dominate other forms of transportation. Many areas within them lack the most basic accommodations for walkers, including sidewalks and safe crossings. Therefore people who walk are more at risk of having to navigate wide, busy streets where cars are used to going at high speeds. The odds of injury and even death become much higher.

Street design is a main culprit when it comes to accidents and fatalities. Many local streets in California are built like highways – they are wide, encourage high speeds, and drivers are not used to looking out for pedestrians. A notable statistic is that people of color and seniors are more likely to be struck and killed while walking.

While drivers have a duty to follow the rules of the road, here are some simple pedestrian safety tips for individuals who must navigate busy roadways:

  • Look both ways before crossing the street. It is the number one rule when it comes to walking! Stop, look, listen, and make sure you are in the clear before stepping into the crosswalk.
  • Do not enter a crosswalk when an oncoming car presents an immediate threat. It may be their responsibility to stop or slow down, but if a car is coming toward you at full speed, do not take the chance. It is always better to be safe.
  • Cross at intersections – Crossing in the middle of the block or between two parked cars can prevent drivers from seeing you. Also, in the unfortunate event that you are hit by a car, they can claim it was your fault.