What Are The Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?

Pedestrian accidents often lead to major injuries. Vehicles are much heavier than the human body, and they can inflict significant damage. Unfortunately, the human body often undergoes two impacts when a collision occurs – a first impact with the vehicle and a secondary impact with the ground. Here, we want to review some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents in our area of California.

Pedestrian Accidents in California

Information from the California Office of Traffic Safety points out that there were nearly 1,000 total pedestrian fatalities and more than 10,000 pedestrian injuries during the most recent reporting year across the state. This is a major problem for residents in the state of California, and even with many major cities throughout the state implementing a Vision Zerov policy to reduce traffic deaths to zero, the issue has not subsided.

How Pedestrian Accidents Occur

There are various ways that pedestrian accidents occur, but some of the most common include the following:

Impaired Driving

Impaired driving remains a leading cause of traffic fatalities and injuries throughout California every year. Individuals can be impaired by alcohol, illegal narcotics, over-the-counter narcotics, and synthetic medications or drugs sold at places like gas stations or novelty stores. Anything that impairs a person’s ability to focus or impairs their motor skills significantly increases the chance that a pedestrian accident will occur.

Distracted Driving

Did you know that approximately nine people lose their lives every day across the country as a result of the actions of a distracted driver? Distracted driving can occur in a wide variety of ways, including individuals taking their eyes off the road, their hands off the wheel, or their mind off driving. This can be caused by cell phones, other people in the vehicle, other devices, pets, eating or drinking, and more.

Failure to Yield

Pedestrians have significant rights on and around the roadway, and motorists typically must yield to pedestrians. The reality is that many pedestrian accidents occur in areas where the pedestrian has the right of way, including intersections, crosswalks, parking lots, and entranceways to parking lots or driveways. Drivers must pay attention to their surroundings and yield the right of way when appropriate to pedestrians. Additionally, drivers should take precautions if they see a pedestrian in an area where they likely shouldn’t be, and these precautions need to include yielding if necessary.


Speeding is the leading cause of traffic accidents in California. Driving too fast for conditions or above the speed limit is also a major problem when it comes to pedestrian accidents because these impacts can significantly affect the pedestrian. The human body is not meant to withstand any impact from something the size of a vehicle, and higher speeds increase the likelihood that there will be a fatal traumatic injury.

Pedestrian Fault

Not every pedestrian accident will be the fault of another driver. Pedestrians also have responsibilities on and around the roadway, and this includes paying attention to their surroundings. Pedestrians should minimize distractions, wear clothing that makes them visible around the roadway, and practice their own form of “defensive walking.” Pedestrians should expect that drivers will not see them and approach the roadway with caution.