LOS ANGELES, California (August 7, 2013) — In the days following the hit-and-run pedestrian crash on Venice Beach boardwalk – a tragedy that took the life of a newly-wed Italian woman and injured 16 others — a federal agency is offering $2 million to US cities prone to pedestrian deaths in an effort to make streets safer and save lives, according to a press release by the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The city of Los Angeles is one of 22 cities identified as among those with the highest number of fatal pedestrian accidents in the United States, the report said. State and city officials have until Aug. 30 to apply for the funds.
The NHTSA reports there were 4,432 fatalities reported in 2011 due to traffic accidents an increase of roughly 8 percent compared to data for 2009 accidents. Additionally, three out of every four pedestrians killed were involved in crashes located in urban areas and approximately 70 percent of the deaths took place at non-intersections. Three quarters or 70 percent of those killed took place at night and drivers were under the influence of alcohol in many of these crashes, the report said.
“Whether you live in a city or a small town, and whether you drive a car, take the bus or ride a train, at some point in the day, everyone is a pedestrian,” said Secretary Foxx. “We all have a reason to support pedestrian safety, and now everyone has new tools to help make a difference.”
Indeed, the city of Los Angeles is a deadly place for pedestrians due to the heavy traffic, congestion and enormous population, said Attorney West Seegmiller, a victim’s advocate who has represented clients in wrongful death and personal injury cases.
“It’s important for city leaders to take necessary steps to make our streets safer for pedestrians, as well as bicyclists and other motorists,” said Seegmiller. “Just about everyone is distracted at one time or another these days by their cell phones, GPS devices, iPods as well as human interactions. Our children need safer roadways, and city officials need to make design choices that will help reduce the chances of another Venice boardwalk or Santa Monica promenade incident from happening in the future.”
The Venice beach community is still reeling from Saturday night’s rampage. About 6:30 p.m., a transient driving a 2008 black Dodge Avenger managed to drive around barricades, installed by the city to protect pedestrians, taking beach goers on the busy boardwalk off guard in what witnesses said was a deliberate attack. After plowing down more than a dozen people, the driver sped off and abandoned the vehicle and two hours later turned himself into police.
The driver, Nathan Louis Campbell, 38, of Colorado, is being held in lieu of $1.48 million bail and plead not guilty to murder this week. He has been charged with 16 counts of assault with a deadly weapon and 17 counts of hit-and-run causing injury or death. Campbell is scheduled to appear back in court on Sept. 4.
Also, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), has created a website www.nhtsa.gov/everyoneisapedestrian featuring safety tips and resources on pedestrian safety.
“We continue to see high rates of pedestrian fatalities in major cities and across every demographic,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “To help stop the recent increase in deaths and injuries, we need everyone to play a role in pedestrian safety. Working with partners on the federal, state, local and individual level, we hope to turn this concerning trend around.”
Los Angeles Pedestrian Accident Law Firm
The Seegmiller Law Firm will do everything we can to help you if you are a victim of a pedestrian or car accident. We work hard to obtain justice for victims and their families who suddenly find themselves facing medical bills, lost income or sadly even funeral expenses due to an unexpected car accident.
The law firm has recovered more than $150 million in settlements and verdicts for its clients in counties throughout California. Our attorneys are passionate about defending their clients against unscrupulous insurance companies and corporations, who strive to downplay the value of a client’s claim.
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