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Statistics on Traffic Accidents in California

Los-Angeles-Traffic-Accidents-AttorneysAccording to the latest available statistics (as of September 2021) from the California Office of Traffic Safety:

  1. In 2019, there were a total of 3,316 fatal and injury crashes involving drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs in California.
  2. In 2019, there were 3,606 fatalities in traffic accidents in California.
  3. The highest number of traffic fatalities in 2019 occurred in Los Angeles County, with 664 deaths, followed by Riverside County with 262 deaths and San Diego County with 258 deaths.
  4. The most common primary collision factor in fatal and injury crashes in California in 2019 was unsafe speed, followed by improper turning.
  5. In 2019, there were 14,008 pedestrian and 7,031 bicycle involved collisions in California, resulting in 893 pedestrian fatalities and 155 bicyclist fatalities.

Please note that these statistics are subject to change as more data becomes available, and may differ depending on the source consulted.

What does this tell us about traffic safety in California?

1. DUI accidents are still a major problem.  Despite the reduction in motor vehicle collisions involving alcohol or drugs, driving under the influence still accounts for over 3,300 of the approximate 3,600 fatal accidents a year in the Golden State.  It is uncertain but, the legalization of marijuana for recreational use may increase these statistics.

2. Los Angeles County has the highest number of fatal accidents.  This is no surprise given the fact that L.A. is the most populated city with the most vehicular traffic on some of the busiest freeways in America.

3. Traveling at an unsafe speed for traffic conditions is the number one cause of accidents.

4. Improper turning is the second most frequent cause of accidents in California.   Many of these accident involve drivers making left hand turns at intersections, drivers making improper u turns, and drivers making unsafe lane changes on freeways.

5. Pedestrian involved accidents and those involving bicycle riders are a major problem in the Golden State.  While many major cities like San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco have tried to increase infrastructure such as crosswalks and bike paths in an effort to reduce such mishaps, they are still occurring with alarming frequency.

What laws are applicable to these common traffic accident scenarios in the Golden State?

1. California Vehicle Code 23152 prohibits driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In addition, under California Civil Code 3294, a person who willfully consumes alcohol or drugs and gets behind the wheel may be liable for punitive damages to the victim.

2. California Vehicle Code 22350 prohibits drivers from driving at an unsafe speed given the traffic conditions, weather, the width and surface area of the road and in any other manner that endangers the safety of other drivers.

3. California Vehicle Code 22108 states: No person shall turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway until such movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after the giving of an appropriate signal in the manner provided in this chapter in the event any other vehicle may be affected by the movement.

4. California Vehicle Code 21801 states: The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left or to complete a U-turn upon a highway, or to turn left into public or private property, or an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to the approaching vehicles until the left turn or U-turn can be made with reasonable safety.

5. California Vehicle Code 21950 states: The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection … The driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of the vehicle or take any other action relating to the operation of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.

6. Numerous statutes protect the rights and safety of bicycle riders in California.  We’ve outlined many of them here .

Importance of  consulting an attorney if you are injured or a loved one is killed as a result of a California motor vehicle accident?

California law provides that every person (or their family) who is injured or killed as a result of negligence is entitled to compensation.  Violation of any of the laws above is considered “negligence per se” under the laws of the State of California.  Retaining an attorney is the best way to ensure that the rights of the victims are protected any payment is made for medical expenses, lost income, loss of the love and companionship of a loved one and emotional distress.  Call our team of California motor vehicle accident attorneys for a free consultation on any accident in CA at 866-966-5240.


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