San Diego city audit says not enough done to protect pedestrians

Recently, a 116-page report was issued regarding the number of fatal accidents involving pedestrians in San Diego. The auditors found that transportation and police officials aren't doing enough to keep pedestrians safe and the rising number of fatalities is directly related to a lack of attention to data and detail.

Sixty-six pedestrians were killed between 2013 and 2015. That marks the deadliest period for pedestrians since 2001. More pedestrians were killed during that three-year period than any other type of road user.

Transportation offices have been upgrading intersections, but too often it happens where pedestrian injuries and accidents are not high. The report said, "Other cities with substantial pedestrian-safety infrastructure needs have used data to identify and proactively improve the most hazardous locations for pedestrians." Between 2001 and 2010, there were 12 pedestrians injured at the intersection of Marlborough Ave and University Ave. This area had the second-highest number of pedestrian accidents in San Diego. None of the improvements have been put in place at this intersection, according to the report.

The report calls for 18 recommendations, including upgrading traffic signals, using historical data in enforcement actions and raising the public's awareness of the dangers to pedestrians. All 18 recommendations were agreed to by city officials.

San Diego has adopted "Vision Zero," which is a program designed to eliminate serious injuries and deaths due to traffic accidents. A spokeswoman for the city said that San Diego is just one of 15 cities that are implementing Vision Zero. She said that other cities are doing much more to get Vision Zero implemented, describing the program as "a proven strategy that works."

The police in San Diego should use their own data and statistics to determine where traffic enforcement for pedestrians should occur. If their own data isn't used, their enforcement actions may not be where they need to be.

When a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, the results are often tragic. Serious injuries almost always result and deaths are frequent. Victims who are injured or the families of those who are killed may wish to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver in order to help with medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, final expenses and more.

Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune, "Pedestrian deaths could decline with smarter enforcement, priority-setting, audit says," Jeff McDonald, Sep. 14, 2016

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