The Daily Breeze reports that police in Torrance are looking for the driver of a 2006-2009 tan or light-gold Toyota 4Runner that was involved in a fatal hit and run accident at 5 am on the 17th of September. The accident, involving the SUV and a cyclist, is still under investigation, but the 4Runner was captured speeding away, minus part of its bumper, by a home security camera in the 200 block of Hawthorn Street. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Torrance Police Department.
Pedestrian Fatalities Keep Increasing
The Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) reports that there has been a 27% increase in pedestrian fatalities since 2007. With numbers that keep on climbing, 2017 saw the largest number of pedestrian deaths in 25-years, with approximately 6,000 lives taken.
The GHSA reports that California sees the 15th highest number of pedestrian fatalities per capita, but our state and just four others combined (New York, Arizona, Florida, and Texas) account for 43% of all fatal pedestrian accidents nationally – and we ranked first in total number of these accidents in 2017, but did not have the highest rate per resident population.
Pedestrians are 1.5x more likely to be killed in an auto accident than those traveling in cars. This is particularly true for children and the elderly. The CDC reports that senior citizens account for 19% of pedestrian deaths, while one in five children under the age of 15 who are killed in auto accidents are killed while walking. This is particularly true in school zones, where a majority of all fatal pedestrian accidents involving children occur.
What’s Causing the Increase?
According to a study conducted by Zen Drive, 74% of drivers use their phones at least once while driving, every day, between the hours of 10 am and 5 pm. Cell Phone use is a known cause of accidents, which is why handheld devices are illegal to use while driving in California. However, hands-free options, while not illegal, have been proven to be just as distracting and should not be used while driving.
Marijuana use is also a factor. While the impact of legalization on traffic fatalities has yet to be seen in California, the seven states and DC that legalized marijuana between 2012 and 2016 reported a collective 16.4% increase in pedestrian fatalities, whereas the remaining 43 states, California included, have seen an average decrease of 5.8%. It should be noted that there is still no standard field test for marijuana intoxication.
Whether it’s distraction, speed, erratic driving, or intoxication, the risk of fatal injury following an accident between a pedestrian and a car is high, making it vital that adults and children alike practice safe behavior when walking. Use the sidewalk. Only cross with the signal at designated crosswalks and always look both ways, twice, before entering the street.
Actions taken by pedestrians can reduce risks for accidents, but injury is not always avoidable. If you are injured or a loved one is killed by a driver in Redondo Beach, Torrance, or elsewhere in the South Bay area, please call Kirtland & Packard at (310) 536-1000 for a free consultation where we can review your case, discuss your options, and help you choose the best way to move forward.