Despite the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic including lockdowns, statistics show that in Los Angeles, traffic accident rates did not drop by much. In fact, as we emerge from the pandemic, the numbers have just gotten worse. Even though the streets were empty due to the pandemic for several months in 2020, data from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation shows that 238 people died in traffic accidents in 2020 compared to 246 in 2019, just a small decrease of 3%. This may come as breaking news to some. The year 2021 has been even deadlier.
The trend when it comes to traffic accidents in Los Angeles has been an upward trend. Statistics show that in the five-year period between 2016 and 2020, nearly 250 people were killed in car accidents each year on average, which is more than a 30% increase from the previous five years. The numbers show that this increase has been fueled by a surge in pedestrian accident death despite Mayor Eric Garcetti's Vision Zero in 2015, a bold initiative to eliminate all traffic accident deaths by the year 2025.
Traffic Accidents in Los Angeles: By the Numbers
The number of casualties was particularly high for pedestrians. In 2021, 486 pedestrians were severely injured in collisions, which reflects a 35% increase over 2020. Pedestrian fatalities increased by 6% to 128.
Los Angeles Department of Transportation data show that crashes involving bicyclists that resulted in severe injuries were increasing even before the pandemic began. Those numbers rose again in 2021, up 24% through Dec. 25, 2021, compared to the same period in 2020. In 2021,18 bicyclists were killed in Los Angeles, which amounts to an increase of 20%.
According to data from the Los Angeles Police Department, through Dec. 25, 2021, 289 people have been killed in traffic accidents in 2021, which is 21% more than the same period in 2020 and 19% over the same period in 2019. LAPD also reports that 1,465 people were severely injured in car accidents, a 30% increase over the same period in 2020. LAPD defines “severe injury” as situations where victims needed to be transported to a hospital for treatment after a car accident.
Racial disparities: A recent UCLA study shows that people of color, particularly Black people, are disproportionately injured and killed in Los Angeles car accidents. According to the study that analyzed traffic accident statistics in Los Angeles over a five-year period (2013-2017), Black people are 14% of accident victims even though they are only 9% of the city's population. The study also showed that one in four people killed in a traffic accident in that period was either a Black or Latino pedestrian. Car accident leg injuries were especially common.
Causes of Traffic Accidents in Los Angeles
According to the Los Angeles Times, Mayor Eric Garcetti has cited drivers getting distracted by cellphones as one of the main causes of car accidents in Los Angeles. According to the LAPD, here are the top five traffic violations that cause car accidents in Los Angeles:
Following too closely:
When vehicles tailgate or follow other vehicles too closely, there is a heightened risk of a major or minor accident crash because drivers may not have the time or space to slow down or stop in time to avoid a collision.
Failing to stop for red lights:
When drivers don't stop for a red light, there is the danger of a horrific street intersection collision. These types of collisions often result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities.
Driving under the influence:
California law prohibits drivers from operating their vehicles while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. An impaired driver poses a grave danger to other drivers and vehicle occupants as well as pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicycles.
Driving over posted speed limits or driving at a speed that is dangerous for traffic, weather or roadway conditions, is risky and often results in a crash. We have seen significant increases in speeding during the pandemic in Los Angeles.
Unsafe left turns:
California law prohibits drivers from making a left turn when another vehicle is approaching. Drivers making the left turn are required to yield the right of way to oncoming vehicles. Southern California drivers who fail to do so could cause a serious car crash.
Average Settlement Amount for a Los Angeles Car Accident Claim
The value or worth of a car accident claim often depends on the nature and extent of your injuries and damages, and the level of negligence on the part of the defendant. If you have been seriously injured in a car accident and had to take time off work and seek medical treatment, your claim could be worth more than someone who suffered a relatively minor injury that did not require medical treatment. Settlement amounts could run into millions of dollars in cases where the crash resulted in catastrophic injuries that result in permanent disabilities. Those who would like to know how car accident compensation works in California are encouraged to contact a legal professional.
Injured Los Angeles car accident victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering and emotional distress. The experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyers at the Vaziri Law Group can help guide you through what can be a complex legal process and help you secure fair and full compensation for your losses. Call us at 877-812-1085 today for a no-cost consultation and case evaluation.
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