The problem of pedestrians being killed or seriously injured on California roadways is bad and growing worse. There are more people out walking – to get to work, school and shopping or just for fun, exercise, and being outside. In an era where we are promoting walking as a healthy, positive, and community building alternative to driving, walking is becoming increasingly dangerous. The Office of Traffic Safety, together with our partners at the State Transportation Agency, Caltrans, CHP, DMV and concerned organizations and advocates across the state, wants to bring awareness to the California public about the dangers pedestrians face so that injuries and fatalities can be reduced on roadways.
The problem is reaching crisis proportions:
- 2018: 893 pedestrians were killed on California roadways, a 26% increase from 2014.
- 2018: More than 14,000 pedestrians injured.
- Pedestrian deaths rose 26% percent between 2014 and 2018.
- Nearly 7,500 pedestrians have died in California between 2009 and 2018.
- California’s pedestrian fatality rate is almost 25% higher than the national average.
- No state has more pedestrian deaths on its roadways than California.
It’s a two-way street. Drivers and pedestrians must work together to demonstrate safe behaviors on the road, helping to protect themselves and those around them.
Safety tips for pedestrians:
- Make yourself visible: wear bright colored clothes and carry a flashlight if you are walking at night.
- Avoid dangerous behaviors: always walk on the sidewalk (no jaywalking), stay sober and make eye contact with drivers – don’t assume the driver can see you.
- Stay off your phones, talking and especially texting distracts you from paying attention to your surroundings.
- Look before you step: cross streets at marked crosswalks/intersections, obey traffic signals and watch for turning vehicles.
- Look left-right-left before crossing a street.
Safety tips for drivers:
- Don’t speed, follow the speed limit and never use your phone; always be cautious of your surroundings.
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
- Look out for pedestrians, especially in hard-to-see conditions such as at night or in bad weather.
- Pedestrians have the right of way at any crosswalk or intersection, so yield and be prepared to stop.
- Stop at the crosswalk stop line to give drivers in other lanes an opportunity to see and yield to pedestrians too.
- Be cautious when backing up – pedestrians, especially young children, can move across your path.
- For safety tips on how to be a pedestrian; Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
- For helpful tips to keep your children safe as a pedestrian: Safe Kids
- For additional safety tips, research and statistics on pedestrians: NHTSA
- To learn about the dangers of being a pedestrian and who is at risk: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Learn how to get your child to school safely: Safe routes to school
- Share the Road: Safety Tips for Pedestrians, Bicyclists and Drivers from the California Highway Patrol