Four students were injured last week when they were struck by a car and debris from a crash outside Ayala High School in Chino Hills. One of the pedestrians was seriously injured and had to be airlifted to a nearby trauma center; the others received only minor injuries and did not require hospitalization. The driver of the car, which caught fire after the crash, was also airlifted to a hospital with moderate injuries.
Initial reports of the crash were unclear on the number of vehicles and pedestrians involved, but it now appears that a single driver lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a light pole. Debris from the shattered pole hit three of the pedestrians, who were on the sidewalk, while the car itself struck the fourth.
The cause of the crash is not yet known, but it’s been reported that the driver had been behaving erratically and caused two other minor property damage crashes just before injuring the pedestrians.
California Dangerous for Pedestrians
While this accident was unusual because of the high number of pedestrians involved, crashes involving people on foot are unfortunately common. Nationwide, more than 70,000 pedestrians were injured and 5,376 were killed in motor vehicle crashes last year, the most since 1996. California saw 742 of those fatalities. In 2013, the most recent year with complete data, San Bernardino County (where Chino Hills is located) saw 363 pedestrians either injured or killed in crashes—that’s nearly one per day.
Car Safety Improving, but Not for Pedestrians
The safety of passenger vehicles has been steadily improving for some time now, and the United States has seen a consistent downward trend in crash fatalities for a number of years. Much of this has been the result of improved safety features such as airbags and antilock brakes.
However, almost nothing has been done to make vehicles safer for pedestrians involved in crashes. So while the number of crash deaths has been declining, the proportion of those deaths suffered by pedestrians has been increasing. In fact, for 2015, it jumped 10 percent to reach the highest total deaths since 1996 and the largest proportion of overall traffic fatalities in twenty-five years.
The problem is beginning to receive recognition throughout America, but we’re significantly behind other parts of the world on this important safety concern. In Europe, for instance, vehicle design has taken pedestrian safety into account for several years now, and some vehicles already have external airbags to protect those outside when a collision happens.
So far, there are no similar safety requirements in the United States. But the US Department of Transportation, as part of its vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication research, is already looking into the feasibility of vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) technology. V2V enables cars to monitor each other’s locations and speeds to avoid collisions. Adding V2P, even in limited circumstances such as at crosswalks and bus stops, would help prevent pedestrian crashes.
Orange County Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
If you’ve been the victim of a pedestrian accident caused by a negligent driver or an unsafe road condition, it is often just as important to get legal help as it is to seek medical help after the accident.
When you face the possibility of large medical bills, lost income, and other recovery expenses, you need someone with a solid understanding of pedestrian accident law on your side. At Dickson Kohan & Bablove, we have experience with all varieties of automobile accident law, and we’re ready to put it to work for you. Call us at 1-844-404-2400 today or reach us by completing the form below. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your case, and find out how we can help you.