LA road deaths soared in 2022, surpassing 300 deaths for the first time in two decades

LA road deaths soared in 2022, surpassing 300 deaths for the first time in two decades

  • US News
  • January 14, 2023
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Road fatalities in Los Angeles rose again last year, with 300 people killed on the city’s streets — the highest number in at least two decades, city officials said.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, 312 people were killed in traffic accidents last year, up 5% from 2021 and a 29% increase from 2020.

LA’s streets remain particularly deadly for pedestrians and cyclists, with 159 people killed in collisions involving pedestrians and motorists, a 19% increase from 2021, and 20 people killed in collisions involving cyclists and motorists, which corresponds to an increase of 11%.

The 2022 LA traffic carnage surpassed national trends.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that nationwide traffic fatalities were essentially flat in the first nine months of 2022 compared to 2021. The number of cyclist and pedestrian deaths increased nationwide last year, but was less than the percentage increase in LA

LA’s numbers dismayed activist groups that have long been urging City Hall to allocate more funding and staffing to Vision Zero, the city’s program to end road deaths by 2025.

“It’s frustrating and annoying,” said Damian Kevitt, executive director of the nonprofit group Streets Are For Everyone. “All of these deaths are preventable.”

Connie Llanos, interim director general of the LA Department of Transportation, said Angelenos needs to “recognize that the way we drive can either save lives or kill them.” Such deaths disproportionately affect children, the elderly and the homeless in black and poor communities, Llanos said.

“Nobody should accept that,” she said.

According to the police department, the “highest risk intersections” in 2022 were Soto Street and Washington Boulevard in South LA, Florence and Vermont Avenue in South LA, Balboa Boulevard and Saticoy Street in Lake Balboa, and Cahuenga Boulevard and Selma Avenue in Hollywood.

A spokesman for the city’s transportation department said that in 2003, the first year data was readily available, 242 people were killed in collisions. In 2015 — the year then Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled Vision Zero — 186 people died in traffic fatalities.

The Vision Zero program is based on the belief that fatal road accidents can be prevented through technology and education. The program has proven its worth in Europe, where it began in Sweden more than two decades ago, and in New York City, where it launched in 2014.

New York City officials reported last week that the total number of road fatalities fell 6.6% in 2022, while road fatalities fell 6.3%. Overall, road fatalities have fallen by a third since the year before Vision Zero was launched, the city said.

Michael Schneider, executive director of advocacy group Streets for All, is among those urging LA to stop paying lip service to Vision Zero and make real infrastructure changes. He said LA roads are designed for driver convenience, whether that be with parking restrictions or speed limits.

“If we want those numbers to go down, we need to build our roads to protect lives first,” Schneider said.

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