September Declared “California Pedestrian Safety Month”
The California State Senate passed a resolution earlier this month declaring September as “California Pedestrian Safety Month.” This month also marks the beginning of a public awareness campaign aimed at both drivers and pedestrians to be more aware of each other and to share the road responsibly. The resolution was sponsored by Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose) and supported by the State Transportation Agency, Office of Traffic Safety, California Highway Patrol, Caltrans and the DMV.
The campaign titled “Pedestrians Don’t Have Armor” highlights the importance of pedestrian safety, whether a person is on foot or behind the wheel. The issue of pedestrian versus vehicle collisions affects not only the person walking but the driver as well, officials say.
A Serious Problem in California and Nationwide
According to the Office of Traffic Safety, 813 pedestrians were killed on California roadways in 2015 alone, accounting for nearly 25 percent of all roadway deaths in the state, up from 17 percent just a decade ago. Pedestrian safety has been an issue not just in California, but also across the nation. In 2013, 6,100 pedestrians were killed nationwide by motor vehicles.
During that same year, about 160,000 pedestrian injuries required medical attention. About 23 percent of deaths and injuries result from pedestrians darting into the street with the majority of those younger than age 15. The number of pedestrian deaths has decreased significantly at a national level since the 1970s. During that decade, pedestrian fatalities were between 8,400 and 10,300.
If you are a pedestrian, there are a number of steps you can take to remain safe on the roadway. Always walk on the sidewalk or in areas that are designated for pedestrians. Never walk while impaired or distracted. Don’t assume vehicles will stop for you. Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street. Don’t rely only on pedestrian signals. Look both ways before you cross the roadway. If you are a driver, exercise caution especially at street intersections, school zones or neighborhoods where children are at play. Always yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections. Do not drive while impaired or distracted.
If you or a loved one has been injured, please contact an experienced California pedestrian accident lawyer who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that your legal rights and best interests are protected. You may be eligible to receive compensation for injuries and damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress.