236 traffic deaths and over 54,000 road crashes occured in Los Angeles in 2019, new data from the Los Angeles Police Department reveals. This fact illustrates the 32% increase in fatal crashes over the past five years, police stated at a recent press conference. Unfortunately, these statistics indicate the ineffectiveness of the city’s campaign to eliminate crash fatalities by 2025.
Increase in fatal hit-and-run crashes
Police data shows hit-and-run crashes tragically rose by 7% in 2019. The family of two young brothers, Jesse Felix Zuniga (19) and Benigno Felix Zuniga (25), who were killed in a hit-and-run accident recently in Highland Park, spoke at the conference. “It’s important that you don’t drink and drive, and if you do cause an accident, just stay. Because you don’t know whose life you’re ending,” said Viviana Martinez, the girlfriend of one of the brothers. The police explained the truck driver involved in the crash left immediately. Although they likely know the identities of the suspects, the police haven’t yet been able to press charges.
Pedestrians also at fault
Irresponsible pedestrians are also behind the increase in fatal crashes. Nearly two-thirds of traffic deaths in 2019 involved pedestrians, LAPD collision data reveals. Roughly half of pedestrians cross the street without using crosswalks, meaning they may be to blame in a collision. “The key for hit-and-runs, for me, is this: it’s an accident, don’t make it a crime”, said LAPD Chief Michael Moore. “Many times, when we see collisions involving pedestrians or other motorists that turn into a hit-and-run, the person who is actually at fault may not be the person who flees the scene. And yet that person fleeing the scene is now committing a felony.” Moore advised pedestrians should walk defensively to avoid accidents.
Car accident advice
Road accidents can be emotionally, physically, and financially damaging for both drivers and pedestrians. Anyone involved in a car accident in LA, no matter how minor, should contact the police. The police document the accident in an official police report that may be used in court later on. It’s also important to consult a personal accident lawyer. A car accident lawyer can help you take steps to protect yourself legally and win financial compensation for necessary expenses, including, medical bills and lost wages. Hiring an attorney will ensure you meet filing deadlines, don’t mistakenly do anything that interferes with your case, and ultimately help you get the outcome you deserve.
In 2019, safety measures were implemented in streets and intersections with high rates of crashes. For example, scrambled crosswalks and pedestrian signals were installed to increase safety. LA city staffers are also currently looking at further measures to reduce accidents.
Cassandra Winter is a professional writer and editor. After a career in PR for an arts charity, she now focuses on writing about her favourite topics from public art to restoration and events. When not working she loves swimming, hiking and quiet nights in with her family.