California is one of the worst states in the country for pedestrian accidents. Total traffic deaths over the past decade have generally experienced a downward trend, but 2015 saw a considerable nationwide increase in pedestrian deaths.
In California alone, pedestrian deaths rose 7% in the first half of 2015. Between the months of January and June 2015, there were 347 pedestrian deaths in California. This number of pedestrians involved in accidents obviously increases when injuries are also considered. Technology in vehicles is evolving in hopes of limiting distractions such as texting while driving and automatic braking technology, but pedestrians are not receiving these same technological protections.
Why the Increase in Pedestrian Accidents?
A greater number of people are using their cellular phones while crossing the streets failing to be aware of their surroundings. When these people are looking at their phones, they can take longer to cross the street and are much more likely to fail to look both ways for oncoming traffic.
To attempt to combat this increase in pedestrian injuries and deaths California has established community safety initiatives focused on pedestrian safety. Additionally, many pedestrians are choosing to cross roads at night, or cross roads with many lanes which greatly increases the chance of being struck by a vehicle.
What is the Law for Pedestrians and How Should Drivers Act?
In California, a driver has a responsibility to yield to a pedestrian who is walking in the crosswalk. The driver must use due care when approaching a crosswalk and appropriately reduce their speed when approaching a place where pedestrians may cross.
While California drivers have a responsibility to use due care near pedestrians, pedestrians themselves are not without their own responsibilities. Under California law, pedestrians have a duty to not suddenly leave a curb or run into the path of a vehicle that might cause danger.
Both drivers and pedestrians have responsibilities, so sometimes this can raise difficult questions about how to apportion fault for the accident. If a pedestrian is texting, or crosses the street when the light does not indicate crossing is permissible, the pedestrian may be deemed to have contributed to an accident. However, just because the pedestrian contributed to the accident does not necessarily mean that the pedestrian will be unable to recover damages.
California is a comparative fault state so even if the pedestrian contributed to the accident they still may be able to recover damages if their fault was less than that of the driver.
Were you a Pedestrian in an Accident?
If you or a loved one was involved in an accident as a pedestrian you should contact an experienced pedestrian accident attorney today. Determining who is at fault in a pedestrian accident can be a difficult task. Additionally, injuries received from a pedestrian accident can be completely life-changing. Contact attorneys you can trust to help you recover damages caused by the accident. Our San Diego team is here to make the civil justice system work for you.