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HomeGeneralCalifornia Lawmakers Pass “Daylighting” Law to Reduce Pedestrian Fatality

California Lawmakers Pass “Daylighting” Law to Reduce Pedestrian Fatality

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A Crosswalk
Source: SMFTA/YouTube

In a bid to promote pedestrian safety and reduce the rate of pedestrian accidents, California lawmakers have passed the “Daylighting” law. This legislation aims to improve visibility at crosswalks by addressing elements that block the view of both pedestrians and drivers.

California drivers will need to be cautious about where they park, as the law establishes a no-parking zone around pedestrian crosswalks. They have to make sure not to block crosswalks or get too close to them. This law makes parking less than 20ft from marked and unmarked pedestrian crosswalks illegal. 

However, the law doesn’t specify which areas constitute “unmarked crosswalks.” Drivers who violate the new parking rule in California will be given warnings instead of citations. According to state officials, after January 1st, the law will be fully enforced, and citations will be issued for violations.

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Before, drivers were restricted from parking in areas like the middle of intersections or on crosswalks, blocking fire hydrants, or near fire station entrances. With this new law, there’s an added buffer around crosswalks to ensure better visibility for pedestrians and drivers alike. 

ALSO READ: New Law Bans Standing on Las Vegas Strip Pedestrian Bridges

So, before parking, drivers must double-check their surroundings and ensure they’re not blocking any prohibited areas. With these measures, drivers can see pedestrians waiting to cross the street. Also, pedestrians can see approaching vehicles without stepping into the street for a clear view of oncoming traffic.

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Assemblymember Alex Lee (D-San), one of the bill’s authors, spoke on the importance of ensuring clear visibility for road users at crosswalks. He emphasized that “daylighting” aims to prevent vehicles from obstructing the view of motorists approaching a crosswalk.

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“Daylighting is a proven way we can make our streets safer for everyone, and 43 other states have already implemented some version of daylighting,” Lee said in a statement that accompanied the bill’s introduction last year. “By making it easier for motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists to see each other at intersections, we can take a simple and important step to help us all safely share the road.”

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“Daylighting is an effective and affordable safety measure that will combat the rising tide of pedestrian deaths in California,” said Marc Vukcevich, co-director of state policy for Streets For All, an LA-based organization that advocates for safe and equitable transportation.

California’s move to implement this law comes in response to alarming trends in pedestrian safety. Despite improvements in vehicle safety technology and road infrastructure, pedestrian fatalities continue to increase. 

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According to data from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), there were over 7,508 pedestrian deaths in the United States. California ranked among the states with the highest number of pedestrian deaths. The latest data from the California Office of Traffic Safety revealed that California’s pedestrian fatality rate is almost 25% higher than the national average. 

In 2021 alone, pedestrian fatalities increased from 1,013 to 1,108. “We need to make real strides to ensure our streets are designed to support and protect our most vulnerable road users, and we’re proud to be working with Assemblymember Alex Lee to do just that,” Vukcevich emphasized.

The law has already been implemented in several cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Alameda, Portland, Oregon, etc. Some jurisdictions may have their versions of the rule with exceptions or modifications. However, the aim remains to create safer pedestrian environments by ensuring clear visibility at crosswalks.

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