A new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) indicates that more pedestrians died in motor vehicle-related crashes in the U.S. last year than in any other year over the past nearly three decades.

GHSA’s “Spotlight on Highway Safety” projected that 6,227 people on foot lost their lives in vehicle crashes in 2018. That number is based on state reports for the first six months of 2018 and adjusting the raw data based on historical trends. The results found a four percent increase in pedestrian deaths killed over 2017.

The GHSA offers some insight into why the increase might have happened:

  • More people are walking, especially to work.
  • Most pedestrian deaths take place on local roads at nighttime, particularly where there is a lack of safe road crossing options.
  • Speeding and other unsafe driving behavior cause many crashes involving pedestrians.
  • There are more SUVs on U.S. roads, which can result in more severe pedestrian injuries.

Pedestrians were involved in more traffic deaths in general than in previous years, accounting for 16 percent of all traffic deaths in 2018, compared to 12 percent in 2008.

California Pedestrian Laws

California has laws that specifically involve pedestrians, as they have substantially less protection in the event of a crash. First and foremost, pedestrians have the right-of-way when traveling around all types of motor vehicles and bicycles. California also imposes the following:

  • Drivers must stop for a pedestrian crossing the road, even if there are no traffic signals or painted lines.
  • When another vehicle has stopped at a crosswalk, other drivers must stop before passing, in case a pedestrian is crossing the street.
  • Driving on a sidewalk is prohibited unless the car is safely crossing to enter or exit a driveway or lot.

Tragically, pedestrian deaths still happen in about 22 percent of traffic fatalities in California.

CaseyGerry has a long history of achieving substantial settlements and jury verdicts on behalf of pedestrians who were hurt by motor vehicles. After a three-day trial in 2015, firm partners Thomas Penfield and Robert Francavilla obtained $425,700+ in damages to a young woman who was seriously injured by a truck while walking in a marked crosswalk in Carlsbad. Penfield and Francavilla received the outstanding trial lawyer award for their work. In 2011, Frederick Schenk, Jillian Hayes, and Briana Givens achieved a $1.5 million settlement on behalf of a client who was seriously injured after being struck by a car at an apartment complex. In addition to the driver as a named defendant, the lawsuit was filed against National City, arguing that the city created a dangerous condition when it failed to protect pedestrians from vehicles at the precarious intersection where the crash had happened.

Should you ever need legal assistance after being injured in a vehicle collision, we welcome you to contact our firm at 619-238-1811.

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