People who live or work in the Los Angeles metro area know all too well what it is like to drive anywhere, especially in rush hour or in bad weather. In 2018, LA drivers sat stuck in traffic jams almost 130 hours each, on average, according to a study by INRIX as reported by Curbed Los Angeles.

Impact of Los Angeles traffic congestion

INRIX also reported:

  • LA traffic congestion is the fifth worst in the country.
  • Two areas of LA freeways are among the most congested stretches nationally: 10 between 405 and 110, and 101 between downtown and Hollywood.
  • Congestion increases pollution, eats up time and, most importantly for this message, increases the numbers of motor vehicle accidents.

In another Curbed Los Angeles article, it was reported that there is a vehicular fatality every 40 hours in LA and that, shockingly even for Los Angeles, deaths of pedestrians increased 82% between 2015 and 2017.

City government has flagged 60 intersections and 63 street corridors (mostly in central LA) that need “urgent safety improvements.” Some corridors are already getting safety upgrades like new signals, crosswalk painting and reworked lane configurations.

The most dangerous stretch is on the Imperial Highway between Vermont Avenue and Athens Way, while the intersection with the most fatalities and injuries is Pacific Coast Highway and Temescal Canyon Road, where people enter Will Rogers State Beach.

Dangerous corridors identified include portions of:

  • Hollywood Boulevard
  • Pico Boulevard
  • Sunset Boulevard
  • Beverly Boulevard
  • Western Avenue
  • Vermont Avenue
  • Normandie Avenue
  • Santa Monica Boulevard
  • Lincoln Boulevard

Curbed Los Angeles reports that the mayor has designated at least $90 million for road safety improvements in the current budget. It also reports that dissent and disagreement about the best approaches to take is going on between stakeholder groups.

Drivers must still drive reasonably for the conditions

Of course, those of us who make LA our home know that our uniquely difficult gridlock can be frustrating and inflame tempers. Or, it is tempting while stuck in traffic to do other things that are distracting and take eyes off the road like get on the phone, cruise the Internet, eat, put on makeup, talk to passengers, listen to news and music, and more.

The bottom line is that anyone who drives negligently or recklessly and thereby causes a crash is liable for resulting injury, property damage, lost wages and other losses. Other potentially responsible parties may include insurance companies and governmental bodies for dangerous road design or substandard road maintenance.

While traffic may contribute to anxiety and stress, every driver must take reasonable care to keep everyone safe on the road. Failure to do so can result in financial liability in personal injury or even wrongful death claims.

Be careful and stay safe out there, but if you are involved in a collision, get medical care and then talk to an LA attorney about potential legal remedies.