In Los Angeles, the number of injury-causing and fatal car accidents is on the rise. This is true, despite the city’s considerable efforts to reduce the number of deadly crashes on its roads.
When Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced his Vision Zero plan, he envisioned an almost immediate 20 percent drop in traffic-related deaths. Instead, Los Angeles saw a 43 percent increase in fatal car accidents during the first year of Vision Zero.
In 2017, the second year in which Vision Zero was in effect, Los Angeles saw an additional 22 percent increase in fatal accidents. Today, Los Angeles has the highest rate of injury-causing and fatal traffic accidents in the nation.
Traffic Accidents in Los Angeles By the Numbers
In 2014, there were approximately 46,500 traffic accidents in Los Angeles. In 2015, there were an estimated 52,000 car accidents in the city. In 2016, the number of traffic accidents in Los Angeles had soared by nearly 20 percent to 55,350. That means that an average of one person is killed in Los Angeles traffic accidents every 40 hours. Projected estimates for 2017 seem to indicate that the total will be even higher.
Los Angeles, a bustling urban metropolitan area, is well-known for its beautiful climate. As a result, the city is no stranger to motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Many of Los Angeles’ traffic accidents also affect individuals who choose these modes of transportation, as well. In 2015, thousands of these individuals sustained an injury or were killed in Los Angeles traffic accidents.
Pedestrians: Pedestrians tend to be involved in approximately 14 percent of traffic accidents. However, they tend to account for about half of all traffic accident deaths. In 2015, 2,386 pedestrians were killed or injured in a Los Angeles traffic accident.
Bicyclists: Riding a bicycle is an increasingly popular mode of transportation in Los Angeles. In fact, the city continues to make its roads more bicycle-friendly by installing dedicated bike lanes. However, bicyclists are still at an increased risk of suffering serious harm in a traffic accident. In 2015, 2,162 bicyclists were injured or killed in a Los Angeles traffic accident.
Motorcycles: California has more registered motorcycles than any other state in the country. Motorcyclists tend to be involved in about 3 percent of accidents in the city, but account for approximately 15 percent of deaths. In 2015, 2,123 motorcyclists were injured or killed in a Los Angeles traffic accident.
Causes of Traffic Accidents in Los Angeles
Why are traffic accidents happened more frequently and causing more damage? One theory is that police are spending more time fighting crime and less time enforcing the city’s traffic laws. Data from the Los Angeles Police Department shows that the number of speeding tickets issued by the department has dropped significantly over the past decade.
In 2010, officers issued approximately 100,000 speed-related citations. In 2015, that number had plunged to approximately 17,000.
Some police officers also say that a state law prevents them from patrolling the streets effectively. The law in question only allows an officer to use radar to assist in catching speeders in areas where updated traffic studies have been conducted.
Los Angeles drivers, knowing that police are focused on crime and without the tools needed to enforce the law, may have become more comfortable skirting local traffic laws. In 2015, speed was determined to be the primary factor in 6,455 Los Angeles injury-causing and fatal accidents.
Speeding is not the only cause of traffic accidents in Los Angeles. Commonly cited causes of traffic accidents in Los Angeles include:
- Driving at night
- Aggressive driving
- Drinking and driving
- Smoking and driving
- Texting while driving
- Fatigued driving
- Failing to merge and yield properly, and
- Following too closely.
Fighting Accidents in Los Angeles
In order to fight the rising traffic accident problem in the city, officials studied why, when, and where accidents happen most. By the conclusion of the study, researchers had determined where the city’s most dangerous intersections and corridors were. In fact, the city had specifically identified 450 miles of road that were most often involved in fatal traffic accidents.
Considerable resources have been allocated to these traffic-accident prone neighborhoods.
Over the next few years, the Los Angeles Transportation Department will focus on making the most dangerous roads in Los Angeles a bit safer. The Department may:
- post more visible signage,
- install speed feedback signs,
- widen sidewalks,
- add medians, and
- alter traffic signals.
The changes will be guided by historical data of where accidents have occurred, and why.
Los Angeles is also counting on drivers to make an effort to drive more safely. Drivers are encouraged to follow all posted traffic laws, drive without distractions, and operate their vehicle with care. Physical changes to the roadways may be helpful in reducing the number of fatal accidents, but drivers must fully assume the responsibility that applies when operating a car.
Get Help If You Have Been Injured In a Traffic Accident in L.A.
Have you been injured in a Los Angeles car crash? Contact the personal injury attorneys at Citywide Law Group to learn about the benefits of filing a personal injury claim for damages. We have over 17 years of experience handling complex personal injury claims in Los Angeles. During this time, we have recovered millions in compensation for our injured clients. Call us today to find out how we can help get the money you need after your car accident.