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The Most At-Risk Groups in California Auto Accidents

By Renee Nordstrand on September 28, 2020

The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) recently released their 2019 traffic report detailing the ways that California’s traffic has improved, as well as the statistics from the year’s traffic collisions. From this document, we are able to get an idea about who is in danger on California’s roads and who should be taking extra precautions in order to keep themselves, and others, safe.

Motorcyclists

Motorcycles have been steadily increasing in popularity over the years. According to the OTS, there are currently over 800,000 registered motorcycles in California. Given that they allow for fast, freedom-oriented travel, it makes sense that many Californians enjoy riding them. Riders can take sharp turns, climb steep roads, and explore areas that would be difficult to access in a conventional passenger vehicle. However, these motorized bikes can be dangerous.

According to the report, there were 13,969 motorcycle accidents that lead to serious injury during the most recent year statistics are available. That means that every day there were around 39 injury-causing motorcycle accidents in California. Even worse, there are 68.6 fatalities per 100,000 motorcycle accidents in the state. That is an alarmingly high number, but not surprising considering the lack of protection accorded motorcyclists. Motorcycle accidents are often devastating and can lead to lifelong injuries.

Pedestrians

When crossing the street as children, we are taught to always look both ways before stepping out on to the road. This is to make sure that we don’t accidentally step in front of a car. Sadly, pedestrian accidents are not easy to avoid, and even when you have the right of way to cross, a negligent driver may still speed through a red light and hit you.

Considering that pedestrians have so little control over their safety when crossing the street or walking alongside the road, it is no wonder that the statistics point to them being a very at-risk group. In a recent year, there were nearly 15,000 pedestrian accident-related injuries, many of which were the fault of a negligent driver. On top of that, there were 213 pedestrian fatalities that same year. Sadly, 18 out of that 213 were children under the age of 15.

Teens

It is common knowledge that teens are more reckless than adults when it comes to driving. They aren’t as experienced on the road yet, may take unnecessary risks for the fun of it, or may panic when faced with a stressful traffic situation and not proceed safely. In California, almost 20,000 out of 272,000 auto accidents involved teen drivers. That means that teen drivers make up over 7% of all driving accidents. That number may seem small, but significant given drivers aged 16-19 are only about 3% of registered drivers in California, according to research done by The Sacramento Bee. That means that teen drivers make up a larger percentage of accident victims than they do of licensed drivers in California.

Keeping Yourself Safe

With these groups in mind, you may be wondering how to use this information to keep everyone on the road safe. Well, be sure to drive defensively, follow all traffic laws, and keep an eye out for pedestrians and motorcycle riders. While you may not want to wait at a stop sign or a red light, remember that pedestrians may assume that it is safe to cross because of the presence of such road signs. You risk seriously injuring a pedestrian by not adhering to them.

If you have a teen driver in your family, you should talk to them about important safety habits they need to strengthen, such as checking their mirrors, keeping to the speed limit, and refraining from using their phone as they drive. Distracted driving, especially distracted driving involving phones, can easily turn deadly.

Sadly, even if you follow our advice, accidents still happen. While you may drive as safely as possible, you may be unlucky enough to share the road with someone who doesn’t take your safety as seriously. When that happens, you find yourself in an accident that was in no way your fault. In such a case, you should contact an experienced Santa Barbara car accident attorney who can help you recover the damages you suffered. Call NordstrandBlack PC at (805) 962-2022 to get expert legal advice.

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