Despite recent gains in statewide pedestrian safety figures, California’s safety officials say that pedestrian injuries and deaths are still too high. To address this issue, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has applied for and been awarded a $200,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) to continue and expand efforts that create safer and more walkable communities.
Over the years, California has seen nearly double the number of pedestrian injuries and deaths as that seen in other states. While the numbers still remain high, progress is being made. The state witnessed a significant decline from 666 deaths in 2007 to 523 in 2008, a 21 percent drop. Similarly, there has been a 49 percent decrease in the number of pedestrian injuries in 2008.
“These declines are encouraging and demonstrate the effectiveness of the efforts of California’s pedestrian safety partners and advocates,” said Dr. Mark Horton, CDPH’s director.
With this grant, CDPH will continue several pedestrian safety programs that have proven effective, including:
- Launching the California Pedestrian Safety Network to educate and link public health, traffic safety and community advocates through a variety of venues.
Publishing results from the Pedestrian Safety Data Task Force, outlining best methods for gathering, analyzing and applying statewide and local data to address pedestrian safety measures.
- Implementing trainings for traffic and engineering professionals to develop pedestrian safety action plans in communities with a high need related to pedestrian risk.
- Facilitating the California Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee (CalPED).
- Complete development, disseminate and provide pilot training for the Risk Communication Workbook for Pedestrian Safety, which is a guide for responding to pedestrian crisis and promoting community change.
“A state as large and diverse as ours requires coordinated planning and education to ensure the safety of pedestrians,” said Christopher J. Murphy, OTS’ director. “CDPH will capitalize on this coordination to help create a better pedestrian environment that will encourage pedestrians of all ages and abilities to walk and do so safely.”
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from OTS through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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