In one sense, this is a bit of good news about Los Angeles and its car-heavy transportation culture: More than half of the time people are involved in car accidents, they actually stick around and take responsibility for it. Slightly more than half.
From LA Weekly:
About 20,000 hit-and-run crashes, from fender benders to multiple fatalities, are recorded by the Los Angeles Police Department each year.
That’s huge, even in a city of 3.8 million people. In the United States, 11 percent of vehicle collisions are hit-and-runs. But in Los Angeles, L.A. Weekly has learned, an incredible 48 percent of crashes were hit-and-runs in 2009, the most recent year for which complete statistics are available. According to data collected by the state, some 4,000 hit-and-run crashes a year inside L.A. city limits, including cases handled by LAPD, California Highway Patrol and the L.A. County Sheriff, resulted in injury and/or death. Of those, according to a federal study, about 100 pedestrians died; the number of motorists and bicyclists who die would push that toll even higher.
In other words, Los Angeles drivers are four-and-a-half times more likely to bail after an accident than the country on the whole.
LA Weekly credits a perhaps-predictable source for the data.
In fact, it appears that the best data on the massive scope of L.A. felony hit-and-runs — “felony” generally meaning somebody was seriously injured or killed — were dug up not by city leaders or law enforcement but by well-known bicycling advocate Alex Thompson, founder of the now-defunct website Bikeside L.A.
According to the blog Biking in LA, 24 riders were killed in traffic-related accidents in Los Angeles County in 2011 — 71 in Southern California. While the figure for LA is relatively consistent, it’s growing in the surrounding area.
Ito World took data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to create this map of fatalities in the greater Los Angeles area from 2001-2009.
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It’s a staggering picture of a decade of injury. And according to LA Weekly, a massive percentage of the people responsible for those accidents may have suffered no consequence at all for doing so.