LOS ANGELES — Traffic fatalities in Los Angeles are on the rise. In 2022, 309 people died on LA’s roads — a 5% increase compared with 2021.
While motor vehicle fatalities fell 10%, pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities increased 19% and 24%, respectively, according to Los Angeles Police Department data analyzed by the nonprofit safety group, Streets Are For Everyone.
What You Need To Know
- The analysis also found that unhoused cyclists and pedestrians in Los Angeles are 40 times more likely to die in traffic collisions than the population as a whole
- According to preliminary data from the LAPD, 312 people were killed on LA roads, and 1,518 were seriously injured in 2022
- Of those killed, 6% were DUI related, 28% were felony hit and runs, 50% were pedestrians and 6% involved a bicycle
- In the 2022-2023 fiscal year LA City budget, $50.6 million was allocated to LADOT for Vision Zero
The analysis also found that homeless cyclists and pedestrians in Los Angeles are 40 times more likely to die in traffic collisions than the population as a whole.
“For the last several years, the holidays in Los Angeles have served as a grim reminder that the streets of this otherwise world-class city are fast and deadly,” SAFE Executive Director, Damian Kevitt, said in a statement. “As Streets Are For Everyone rang in the new year, we learned that 2022 was no exception.”
SAFE attributes the increase in fatalities to unsafe speed, which accounted for 34.78% of all traffic injuries and fatalities in the city in 2021, according to the UC-Berkeley Transportation Injury Mapping System. Driving or bicycling under the influence of alcohol or drugs was the second leading cause, at 10.4%.
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation has yet to release traffic fatality data for 2022. The agency relies on verified data from the state of California, a spokesman said, which is then used to plan traffic safety improvements.
The Los Angeles Police Department is the agency that reports collisions and traffic fatalities in the city. The information is then verified by the California Highway Patrol, which cross references data from hospitals, the Los Angeles Fire Department and other agencies that may have missed or duplicated the LAPD’s initial reports.
According to preliminary data from the LAPD, 312 people were killed on LA roads and 1,518 were seriously injured in 2022. Of those killed, 6% were DUI related, 28% were felony hit and runs, 50% were pedestrians and 6% involved a bicycle.
Of those seriously injured, 4% were DUI related, 20% were felony hit and runs, 32% were pedestrians and 9% involved a bicycle.
“Traffic violence is a public safety and health emergency that today claims as many lives in Los Angeles as gang violence,” LADOT Interim General Manager Connie Llanos told Spectrum News 1. “This crisis also disproportionately affects the most vulnerable — children, seniors and the unhoused in communities of color and poverty.”
In the 2022-2023 fiscal year LA City budget, $50.6 million was allocated to LADOT for Vision Zero — former LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s plan to eliminate roadway deaths by 2025 through safety improvements. In 2015, when the initiative was first proposed, 186 people were killed in auto collisions.
Based on preliminary LAPD data, 2022’s traffic fatalities are 67% higher than when Vision Zero was first adopted. Earlier this year, LA City Council called for an audit of Vision Zero, but former City Controller Ron Galperin did not conduct it before leaving office. It is unclear whether his successor, Kenneth Mejia, will take up the issue.
“The City has made investments to address this crisis in recent years and we must do more, but reducing traffic deaths on our local streets will require more than infrastructure improvements,” Llanos said. “We need all Angelenos to come together and recognize that how we drive can either save lives or take them.”
She added LADOT is leveraging every resource at its disposal to improve safety by focusing on neighborhoods with the highest rates of death and serious injuries where decades of under-investment have put residents at greater risk.
The SAFE analysis comes days after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released its early estimate on roadway deaths for the first nine months of 2022. It reported that fatalities had decreased .2% nationally but increased 8% among cyclists, 5% among motorcyclists and 2% for pedestrians.