September is California Pedestrian Safety Month. Due to the increased number of pedestrian fatalities and injuries, the California State Senate passed a resolution to make this month California Pedestrian Safety Month. Local police departments and other local and state agencies will be doing their part to promote awareness to both drivers and pedestrians about how to safely share the road.

The resolution was sponsored by Senator Jim Beall from San Jose and supported by the State Transportation Agency, Office of Traffic Safety, California Highway Patrol, Caltrans, and Department of Motor Vehicles. The motivation behind the resolution was the dramatic increase in pedestrian fatalities over the last 10 years. In 2015, 813 pedestrians were killed on California roadways, accounting for almost 25% of all roadway deaths, up from 17% 10 years ago.

State agencies are taking action: The California Office of Highway SafetyBlog image_9-9-16.jpgis launching a new campaign, “Pedestrians Don’t Have Armor,” which hopes to highlight the importance of pedestrians and drivers paying closer attention. Caltrans kicked off its California State Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan to improve safety and access for all. CHP is emphasizing safe walking through its international award winning California Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Enforcement and Education Project.

Both drivers and walkers are cautioned to put down the cell phones, since electronic distractions are seen in increasing numbers of pedestrian crashes. Other factors for drivers include high speed and failure to see and yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and intersections. For pedestrians, the major dangers are jaywalking and thinking that they can be seen at night, especially while wearing dark clothing.