California may well boast one of the nation’s best climates with its temperate coastal zones allowing relatively comfortable outdoor activities all year long in most places. Even in the interior desert regions, people are able to enjoy being outside much of the year. Whether walking through a parking lot, crossing a street or jogging along a path, pedestrians deserve to feel safe. Sadly, data shows they are anything but.
According to Fortune, a report issued by the Governors Highway Safety Association found that the number of 2018 pedestrian deaths in the U.S. was the highest in 18 years. California was one of five states that accounted for nearly 50% of all the pedestrian fatalities nationwide last year.
Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that in 2009, 567 pedestrians died in motor vehicle accidents in California. In 2018, that number was 893. Nationally, pedestrian fatalities fell 37% between 1990 and 2009. Since then, they have increase more than 50%.
The nation’s fixation on large vehicles has contributed to the problems facing pedestrians for multiple reasons. The height of SUVs and other vehicles makes it harder for drivers to see pedestrians, increasing the chance they will be hit. When a pedestrian is hurt, they are more likely to sustain impact at the head or torso level versus at their legs. Trauma to the head and torso may result in more tragic outcomes. New vehicle technologies designed to prevent accidents have yet to be rolled out on enough vehicles to help the problem, but some of these features may be standard by 2022.