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John Bisnar
John Bisnar
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Pedestrian Fatalities in Orange County

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Is It Safe To Cross The Street?

Pedestrian dies after being hit by a car on Beach Blvd. in Midway City. Man, 25, hit by delivery truck, killed in Newport Beach. Grandfather dies and grandson hospitalized after being hit while crossing the street in Santa Ana. In Stanton, two pedestrians were killed by a hit-and-run driver suspected of driving while intoxicated. These stories were reported in the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register.

Who is at fault?

Research Scientist Peter Roeper, after a scholarly review of the California’s pedestrian fatality records, comes to the conclusion that the pedestrians are at fault a slight

majority of the conclusion that the pedestrians are at fault a slight majority of the time and most pedestrian deaths occur because the pedestrian is not in a crosswalk. His charts show 748 pedestrian fatalities in California in 2005. Fifty-two percent are shown as “Pedestrian At Fault,”.

Certainly each accident must be considered individually to determine fault. Some cases require a professional investigation and then an analysis by a reconstruction expert. . However, it is clear than many police agencies and liability insurance companies jump to the conclusion that the pedestrian is at fault, especially if the pedestrian is crossing the street someplace other than a cross-walk.

If the vehicle driver is only partially at fault, the injured pedestrian is entitled to compensation.

According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA), there is not a single strategy that will reduce pedestrian fatalities. NCSA suggests that “Education, Enforcement and Engineering is the answer. Unfortunately, their website does not explain their suggestion any further. I assume education consists of “looking both ways” and making sure drivers see you, enforcing the laws, engineering streets in such a way to make them safe for pedestrians and avoid creating dangerous situations in designing and maintaining roadways.

NCSA’s statistics for 2005 indicates that there were 4,881 pedestrian fatalities while nearly 64,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic accidents, nationwide. NCSA points out that pedestrians account for just over 11% of all traffic fatalities and lists the following as factors in fatal pedestrian accidents:

Pedestrian factors:
Improper crossing of roadway (29%)
Walking, playing in roadway (25%)
Failure to yield right of way (12%)

Driver factors:
Inattention (7%)
Failure to keep in proper lane (6%)
Failure to yield right of way (7%)

Of the 748 pedestrian fatalities in California, 53 were in Orange County. Strangely enough, there were more pedestrian fatalities on Orange County roadways than there are vehicle passenger fatalities, according to Calilfornia’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Reporting System (SWITRS).