Los Angeles residents have a reputation for driving everywhere, but sometimes we must walk to our destination. And when Angelinos try to cross the street, they are at more risk of getting killed by a car than anywhere else in the U.S., except for New York City.
That grim fact comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation, which announced in a report that 99 pedestrians were killed in auto accidents in L.A. in 2012. According to L.A. Weekly, only New York, with 127 fatal pedestrian accidents, was more deadly for walkers that year. The state of California had the most pedestrian deaths with 612; Texas’ 478 deaths was second-highest.
Some readers, noting that L.A. has the second-largest population in the country, are no doubt wondering if that contributed to the high number of pedestrian fatalities. Indeed, when adjusted for population, the city had 2.57 pedestrians killed per 100,000 residents. That is not as bad as some cities, but higher than in New York, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia.
Collisions involving pedestrians make up a big part of the fatal accident problem in California. In 2012, forty-one percent of people killed in car crashes in L.A. were pedestrians. That is much higher than the national rate, which was just 14 percent.
Many more victims survive being struck by a car, truck or motorcycle, but are severely injured. They may be permanently disabled because some driver failed to obey traffic lights, was drunk or otherwise negligently disregarded public safety.
Even still, for most families this is preferable to losing their loved one entirely.