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Hit-and-run accidents are a growing threat to Oakland pedestrians

Statistics indicate hit-and-run accidents, which often affect pedestrians and result in fatal injuries, are a growing risk for people in Oakland.

Pedestrian accidents are on the rise in California, according to the California Department of Public Health. Unfortunately, so are pedestrian accidents in which the driver flees the scene. This issue was recently illustrated in an Oakland accident in which a man was struck by a car and injured. The driver stopped for a moment and then sped off, leaving the victim in critical condition, according to 10 News.

Unfortunately, even when the drivers involved in hit-and-run accidents are later found, pedestrians often suffer unnecessary injuries because they do not receive prompt medical attention. In extreme cases, injuries that should have been treatable may prove fatal. This makes hit-and-run accidents a serious threat to pedestrian safety.

A rise in reckless accidents

California already has a high rate of fatal pedestrian accidents, exceeding the national average by about 58 percent, according to the CDPH. Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents are becoming more common throughout the country, and these accidents frequently affect pedestrians. In 2013, USA Today reported the following figures:

  • In three out of five fatal hit-and-run accidents, pedestrians are the victims.
  • About one-fifth of pedestrian fatalities occur in hit-and-run accidents.
  • Hit-and-run accidents increased from 2009 to 2011, even as the number of other accidents fell.
  • California has an especially high rate of hit-and-run accidents; Los Angeles leads with 4,000 such accidents resulting in injury or death every year.

California lawmakers have recently taken a few steps to address this issue. A law passed in 2013 doubled the statute of limitations to prosecute hit-and-run drivers from three to six years. A bill that is currently being considered would require all drivers to stop after hitting a person. Drivers who fail to stop could face fines and misdemeanor charges, along with automatic license suspension lasting six months.

These measures should help deter drivers from fleeing the scene. The new law also could help people who have already been harmed in accidents by making it easier for them to seek justice once the responsible driver is identified.

Oakland pedestrian safety

The issue of fatal pedestrian accidents is not new to the Oakland area. The Federal Highway Administration reports that, out of all California cities, Oakland had the second highest pedestrian fatality rate during the 90s. The Oakland Pedestrian Safety Project was launched to address this high fatality rate through both education and enforcement.

As part of the project, safety officials kicked off a campaign emphasizing the rights of pedestrians in intersections. Television coverage helped ensure a large number of motorists got the message. To this day, Oakland drivers are aggressively ticketed for failing to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. Authorities focus on 20 locations, and an average of 30 citations are issued at each location.

Over the years, these measures have helped reduce fatalities. However, they cannot prevent every accident, especially since statistics indicate that hit-and-run accidents, which often affect pedestrians, are increasing. Anyone who is hurt in a pedestrian accident in Oakland should consider meeting with an attorney to discuss seeking compensation.

Keywords: hit-and-run, accident, injury