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Drivers and pedestrians should be aware of each other

Pedestrian fatalities in California have increased by almost 33 percent since 2012, and agencies and community partners are taking steps to keep pedestrians safer. September is Pedestrian Safety Month, and law enforcement is urging drivers and pedestrians to be aware of one another and learn to responsibly share the road.

During 2016, more than 14,000 pedestrians were injured and 867 were killed on California roads. The California Office of Traffic Safety has launched a campaign to raise awareness of pedestrians, featuring pedestrians wearing armor made of car parts to remind drivers that pedestrians do not, in fact, have armor. They don't have any protection if they're hit by a car, regardless of who is at fault.

According to the director of the OTS, pedestrian safety is the responsibility of both walkers and drivers. Law enforcement agencies intend to use Pedestrian Safety Month to educate people about traffic rules, responsibilities and rights. They also intend to highlight areas and situations where the incidence of vehicle-pedestrian collisions are higher.

Drivers should be on the lookout for people on foot or on bicycles, especially at crosswalks and intersections. They should not use cellphones or succumb to other distractions while driving. They should be extra cautious while they are backing up. Pedestrians, meanwhile, should try to be as obvious and predictable to drivers as possible and try to make eye-contact with drivers before making a move. They should be aware of cars backing up and avoid distractions while walking near traffic.

A person who is injured in a pedestrian accident might be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages. An attorney with experience in personal injury law might be able to help by first attempting to negotiate a settlement with the at-fault motorist's insurance company.

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