As the most populated state in the nation, it should come as no surprise that California also has the highest number of pedestrian traffic fatalities.
504 pedestrians were killed in crashes involving vehicles in California in 2022, according to preliminary data from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association: a nearly 10% increase over 2019.
The Golden State’s pedestrian fatality rate was 1.29 deaths per 100,000 people in 2022, substantially higher than the national rate of 1.04.
This also means California plays an oversized role in the national data, which shows pedestrian deaths are up 70 percent since 2010 – a surge experts attribute to more large vehicles on the road.
Florida was second with 443 pedestrian deaths in 2022. Texas was third with 368.
California, Florida, and Texas comprise 28% of the U.S. population but accounted for 38% of all pedestrian traffic deaths in 2021 and based on 2022 preliminary data.
In 2010, Americans bought and leased cars and trucks in roughly equal numbers. By 2021, nearly 80 percent of sales and leases were trucks, according to The Hill.
Trucks now outnumber cars in every state.
“There’s this race to the bottom of people buying more large cars because they want to feel safer around all of the other large cars,” Rebecca Sanders, founder of Safe Streets Research & Consulting, a crash analysis firm, told The Hill. “(Pedestrians) are ever more vulnerable, ever more at risk, from these larger vehicles.”
Other large vehicles, beyond trucks, are also factors in the spike.
The number of pedestrians killed by light utility trucks, the most common culprit after cars in the latest federal data, more than doubled between 2010 and 2021, from 732 to 1,773.
The Hill contributed to this report.