California leads nation in pedestrian fatalities

California residents may be known for loving their healthy lifestyles that may include getting outside to walk and run frequently. Unfortunately, these hobbies put people in harm’s way and may create another opportunity for the state to lead the nation. 

More pedestrians die in crashes on the streets in California than in any other state across the country according to the California Office of Traffic Safety. The rate of pedestrian deaths in California exceeds that of the national average by nearly 25%. 

California’s pedestrian fatalities

In the five short years between 2014 and 2018, deaths among pedestrians in California spiked by 26%. In 2018, more than 14,000 people on foot experienced injuries in vehicular accidents. Nearly 900 pedestrians died that year alone. 

In 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows that 709 pedestrians died in California. Five years earlier in 2009, the state recorded 567 pedestrian deaths. 

In 2009, pedestrians accounted for just over 18% of all vehicular fatalities in California. In 2018, pedestrians represented one in four people killed in motor vehicle accidents statewide. 

Pedestrian fatalities near San Mateo County

In San Mateo County alone, 52 pedestrians were killed between 2014 and 2018. In neighboring Santa Clara County, 168 people on foot died in the same period. San Francisco recorded 90 pedestrian deaths and Santa Cruz County another 31. 

Pedestrians must remain aware

While drivers should watch for pedestrians, people on foot must realize that motorists may not always operate their vehicles safely. Wearing bright clothing, reflective or illuminated gear may help pedestrians be more visible to drivers at night and even during daylight conditions. 

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