In any type of motor vehicle collision, a pedestrian will suffer the most catastrophic injuries of those involved. Even a low-speed impact with a smaller passenger vehicle can lead to broken bones, head trauma and internal injuries if the pedestrian falls to the ground and is trapped under the wheels of the car. Unfortunately, many of these collisions are serious enough to result in pedestrian fatalities.
A report published by the Governors Highway Safety Association highlighted some troubling statistics. The report focused mainly on traffic safety during the first six months of the pandemic. During this time, seven states accounted for more than half of all pedestrian deaths – with California leading all states with 485 fatalities. Even with fewer cars on the road due to travel restrictions and work from home requirements, nearly 3,000 pedestrians were killed on U.S. roads during the period studied. This figure represents an incredible 20% increase when compared to the number of miles driven during the same time period a year earlier.
Unfortunately, California was one of the states that showed an increase in pedestrian deaths during the period – January through June, 2020. This represents a 5% increase from the year before. In fact, the trend has continued for some time. In 2010, there were 4,302 pedestrian fatalities across the nation. By 2019, that number had jumped to 6,301 – a 46% increase in the national total.
Various communities throughout California have instituted methods to control the traffic flow and protect pedestrians, including:
- Auditory signal warnings
- In-road signage
- Flashing warning signs
- Pedestrian refuge islands
Additionally, some areas have started using traffic chicanes and roundabouts to better control speed and flow direction in the hopes that pedestrian collisions resulting in catastrophic injuries will start to decrease.