In 2012, California had 2,857 traffic fatalities, which was up slightly from 2,816 in 2011. However, this was still one of the lowest numbers recorded in the state since they were tracked in 1975. The fatality rate for drivers under the age of 20 decreased 1.3 percent from 2011 to 2012. Fatalities involving teenage drivers dropped 5 percent and have decreased 48 percent since 2007.
The number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities increased in 2012 to 28 percent from 27 percent in 2011. However, at a death rate of .24 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, California still has a rate lower than the national average of .33 percent. At the same time, the percentage of drug impaired drivers who were killed in a car crash increased to 38 percent. This number has gone up each year since 2006.
Pedestrian fatalities dropped by 3.9 percent in 2012, while bicycle fatalities increased by 7 percent to 124 in 2012. Overall, motorcycle fatalities increased 4.6 percent although the number of fatalities per 100,000 registered bikes stayed relatively steady between 2011 and 2012. Of occupants who died in car crashes in 2012, half of those who were not wearing seat belts would have survived had they been restrained. However, California is statistically the best state when it comes to the percentage of occupants who wear their seat belts.
Anyone who is hurt in a car crash due to another's recklessness may wish to talk to a personal injury attorney. This is true whether the victim is a driver, a passenger or pedestrian. At trial or through an early settlement, it may be possible to win compensation for relevant medical costs, long-term care and lost wages. It may also be possible to win compensation for future earnings if said injuries keep an individual from working in the future.
Source: California Office of Traffic Safety, "California Traffic Safety Quick Stats", Jan. 1, 2014