Despite a historic decrease in traffic throughout Los Angeles and much of California throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, this didn’t result in a decrease in traffic violence. For the last year, people continued to be injured and killed in collisions on city streets at a high rate. In fact, the number of people killed in traffic crashes in Los Angeles reportedly remained virtually unchanged in 2020.


Based on preliminary data reported by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and reported by LAist, 238 people died in collisions last year. Compared to the 246 deaths in 2019, that’s a decrease of about 3%. However, that slight dip pales in comparison to how sharply car travel fell in greater L.A. in the early months of the pandemic. In mid-to-late Mar. 2020, daily vehicle traffic fell as much as 70%. Then Apr. saw traffic volumes decrease by 30% to 50% compared to the start of the year. 


As written by LAist, the “discrepancy in how much we drove last year vs. how many people were killed in traffic crashes shows the immense challenge L.A. faces in reducing traffic violence and saving lives on its streets.” According to city data cited by the publication, nearly 250 people were killed in crashes each year on average from 2016 to 2020, up more than 30% from the previous five years. A surge in pedestrian deaths has driven much that increase.


Moreover, though the number of pedestrians killed by drivers fell around 12% overall, it actually increased in some neighborhoods. LADOT reported that collisions in which someone was killed or severely injured were down notably from 2019 in the Valley, Central and West bureaus, but jumped 23% in the South Bureau. When it comes to fatal crashes specifically, fewer people died in West L.A. and the San Fernando Valley compared to the previous year. However, more people were killed in Central and South L.A., where traffic fatalities there jumped 17% and 27%, respectively.


Similarly, pedestrian deaths were down in three LAPD jurisdictions — notably 50% in the West Bureau. But the number of people killed by drivers while walking in South L.A. rose nearly 15% from the year before.


LAist perfectly explained it: “The disproportionate death toll in South L.A. is in line with what we know about the racial inequities in crash victims. Neighborhoods there are predominantly Latino and Black, and historic underfunding in those communities has led to neglected, dangerous roads — and more people of color are dying as a result.”


In 2015, the city of Los Angeles adopted the Vision Zero program, pledging to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025. As aforementioned, traffic violence in the city has only worsened since then. While car occupant deaths have stayed virtually flat, the number of people killed by drivers while walking has surged in recent years. The program initially sought to reduce traffic deaths 20% by 2017. Instead, the city experienced 67 more deaths than in 2015. 


A recent study from UCLA showed that people of color, especially Black people, are disproportionately hurt and killed in L.A. crashes. “Some of the key takeaways are that black people are 14% of victims overall, even though they’re only 9% of the city’s population,” Madeleine Brozen, deputy director for the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, reportedly said.


She added that Black victims are also overrepresented in traffic deaths specifically, making up 16% of fatalities from 2013 to 2017 — nearly double their population share. In fact, one in every four people killed in a crash over those five years was either a Black or Latino pedestrian, the data showed.


The disproportionate death toll in South L.A. is “a direct result of generational underinvestment and harmful transportation planning decisions,” LADOT’s Colin Sweeney told LAist. “Our safety investments aim to address these disparities.”


Moreover, LADOT staff reportedly analyzed crash data from 2015 to 2019 and identified eight new “priority corridors,” which city roadways where people are killed and severely injured in crashes at high rates. The corridors see a minimum average 15 people killed or severely injured per mile (KSI/mile), and four of these are in South L.A. These are:


  • Central Avenue from 101st St. to 109th St. (17.1 KSI/mile)
  • Central Avenue from Florence Ave. to Manchester Ave. (24.2 KSI/mile)
  • Foothill Boulevard from Apperson St. to Sherman Grove Ave. (15.9 KSI/mile)
  • Nordhoff Street from Balboa Blvd. to Collett Ave. (16.0 KSI/mile)
  • Pacific Coast Highway from Broad Ave. to Wilmington Blvd. (15.3 KSI/mile)
  • Roscoe Boulevard from Oso Ave. to Tampa Ave. (15.18 KSI/mile)
  • Vanowen Street from Sepulveda Blvd. to Van Nuys Blvd. (19.0 KSI/mile)
  • Wilmington Avenue from 106th St. to Imperial Highway (16.4 KSI/mile)


Also, preliminary data compiled by LADOT cited by LAist revealed other trends seen throughout the city in 2020, which included:


The number of motorcyclists killed in crashes jumped about 45%.

The post Not All Los Angeles Communities Experienced Less Traffic Violence In 2020 appeared first on Personal Injury Lawyer Los Angeles CA.

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Neama Rahmani is the President and co-founder of West Coast Trial Lawyers.

Neama graduated from UCLA at the age of 19 and Harvard Law School at the age of 22, making him one of the youngest graduates in the 200-year history of the…

Neama Rahmani is the President and co-founder of West Coast Trial Lawyers.

Neama graduated from UCLA at the age of 19 and Harvard Law School at the age of 22, making him one of the youngest graduates in the 200-year history of the law school. Upon graduation, Neama was hired by O’Melveny & Myers, the largest law firm in Los Angeles, where he represented companies such as Disney, Marriott, and the Roman Catholic Church.

But Neama wanted to help ordinary people, not corporations, so he joined the United States Attorney’s Office, where he prosecuted drug and human trafficking cases along the United States-Mexico border. While working as a federal prosecutor, Neama captured and successfully prosecuted a fugitive murderer and drug kingpin who had terrorized Southern California and was featured on “America’s Most Wanted.” Neama was then appointed to be the Director of Enforcement of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, an independent watchdog that oversees and investigates the elected officials and highest level employees of the City of Los Angeles, including the Mayor and City Council. He held that position until becoming a trial lawyer for the people.

Neama has extensive trial experience. He has led teams of more than 170 attorneys in litigation against the largest companies in the world. Neama has successfully tried dozens of cases to verdict as lead trial counsel, and has argued before both state and federal appeals courts. Over the course of his career, Neama has handled thousands of cases as attorney of record and has helped his clients obtain more than $1 billion in settlements and judgments.