The California Office of Traffic Safety announced on Oct. 1 that it would be providing the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department with almost $2 million to help improve road safety in the nation’s second-largest city. The department will use the $1,905,75 grant to beef up patrols and launch a series of education and public awareness campaigns. The leading causes of motor vehicle accidents in Los Angeles County include alcohol consumption and drug use, distraction caused by cellphones, excessive speed, failure to yield, failure to abide by stop signs and traffic lights, and improper lane changes and turns.
The grant will make several community outreach programs possible, including efforts to teach cyclists and pedestrians about their rights and responsibilities. For example, there are programs designed to make motorists aware of California’s hands-free cellphone law and the penalties for violating it. Money will also be allocated to train deputies to notice the signs of alcohol or drug impairment and conduct standardized field sobriety tests. The grant money will be used during the 2021 fiscal year, which begins on Oct. 1, 2020, and ends on Sept. 30, 2021.
Pedestrian and cyclist deaths soar
State officials may have decided that more money was needed to address road safety issues because California has the highest rate of fatal crashes in the country. Particularly worrying are recent surges in pedestrian and cyclist deaths in Los Angeles County that have been linked to drivers exceeding posted speed limits on quiet roads. It is hoped that an increased law enforcement presence will save lives by deterring drivers from acting recklessly.
Using police reports in car accident lawsuits
Accidents resulting in serious injury or death tend to be investigated thoroughly by law enforcement, and the findings of accident investigators may be used by experienced personal injury attorneys to establish that the defendants in civil lawsuits acted negligently. Police reports might reveal that motorists were arrested for driving while under the influence or cited for speeding, ignoring a stop sign or using their cellphones. Investigators may also conclude that crashes were caused by defective brakes, bald tires or other preventable safety-related issues.