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California once again comes in first for pedestrian fatalities

When it comes to the hundreds of studies ranking the individual states in a seemingly endless array of categories, California typically fares rather well. In fact, most of us are accustomed to seeing the state occupy the top tier when it comes to things like health care and education.

In a rather unfortunate turn of events, however, the Golden State recently had the dubious distinction of taking the top spot -- once again -- for pedestrian fatalities.

According to the preliminary findings of the Governors Highway Safety Association, there were roughly 700 pedestrian fatalities in California in 2014, roughly the same amount as 2013 and enough to once again lead the nation in these types of wrongful deaths.

As discouraging as this is, consider that the GHSA's preliminary report also determined the percentage of motor vehicle fatalities that were pedestrians in California was 23 percent, above the national average of 14 percent, yet still considerably lower than places like the District of Columbia, where the percentage of motor vehicle fatalities that were pedestrians was 45 percent.

Furthermore, California's per capita fatality rate was 1.83 per 100,000 people, multiple spots behind Delaware (2.7 per 100,000) and Florida (2.56 per 100,000), which had the two highest rates, and Arizona, Louisiana, South Carolina, Montana, and New Mexico, all of which had rates over 2.0.

Aside from the state rankings, the GHSA report also made the following noteworthy findings:

  • Between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. is the deadliest time for pedestrians in the U.S., as 70 percent of the recorded fatalities took place during this timeframe.
  • Men comprised 70 percent of all pedestrian fatalities.
  • Streets with speed limits between 35 to 40 miles-per-hour were the most deadly.

Here's hoping local and state lawmakers take note of these findings and enhance their efforts to make things safer for pedestrians here in California.

Source: The Los Angeles Times, "California leads nation in pedestrian deaths -- again," Charles Fleming, Feb. 27, 2015

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