Though statistics gathered nationally show a continued uptick in the number of pedestrian fatalities in 2016, California was one of the few states to actually show a decline last year. Pedestrian deaths across the country climbed above 6,000 for the first time in more than 20 years in 2016, but California accounted for only 359 of those fatalities. In 2015, the state saw 347 deaths in the first six months alone. For the year, pedestrian fatalities were down nearly 12% from 2015.
According to authorities, the most common causes of fatal pedestrian-motor vehicle accidents remain:
- Drivers and pedestrians being distracted, mostly by devices (texting, surfing or using a cell phone or music player)
- Pedestrians crossing at locations other than a crosswalk
- Drivers and pedestrians not paying attention to their surroundings
Officials attribute the decline to significant efforts by local law enforcement agencies to educate the public—both drivers and pedestrians—of the dangers of not paying attention while on or near the road. In addition, police officers have been more proactive in monitoring and ticketing for violations of pedestrian rights-of-way. Among the other strategies successfully employed in California are:
- Public information campaigns addressing the dangers of distracted driving, including television, radio and billboard advertisements
- Identification and patrolling of high-risk areas in order to keep speeds down
- Educational programs in certain high-risk areas, including near schools and shopping centers
- Engineering solutions for high-risk intersections and crossings, including speed bumps, rerouting of traffic, and lowered speeds
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