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Bay Area Infrastructure Impacts Rising Car Accident Statistics

Job opportunities in the tech industry, scenic parks, seasonal weather, and beautiful architecture continue to draw a growing population to the San Francisco Bay Area. The California Department of Finance reports that the Bay Area is California’s most rapidly growing region, projecting the population to soar to 9.3 million by 2040, a massive 30% increase.

In an area that is already subject to roadway congestion, planning officials express concern that the Bay Area's existing infrastructure will not suffice under an influx of drivers. Referred to begrudgingly as “Carmaggedon” by locals, the daily gridlock of commuters has become recognized as one of the top causes of Bay Area accidents. The winding and ill-maintained streets of the San Francisco area only add to the challenge of navigating overcrowded roadways.

According to data from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), congestion rates dropped about 23% in 2020 due to the pandemic’s stay-at-home orders. Having a significantly lower number of drivers on the road drastically reduced the number of accidents across the region, dropping from nearly 11,000 reported crashes in 2019 to just over 7,000 in 2020.

However, with the return to work in 2021 the number of car accidents are back on the rise, reaching 8,482 total accident in 2021 and even higher projections for 2022, according to the UC Berkley Transportation Injury Mapping System. Data also shows that in 2021 there were more driving fatalities with fewer vehicle miles traveled than in years prior to the pandemic.

In an effort to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries due to traffic accidents in the Bay Area by 2030, the MTC signed into action Vision Zero in June 2020, allocating resources and measures to update roadways and alleviate congestion as well as promote driver safety. MTC worked with the legislature to authorize a ballot measure to finance $4.45 billion for highway and transit improvements through added bridge tolls.

Traffic accidents and fatalities due to rising populations and unstable infrastructure are not unique to the Bay Area. California metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles and Roseville consistently rank in the top cities with the most car accidents per capita. San Bernardino County is rated the second in the country for the county with the most accident-related fatalities with 14.63 fatalities per 100,000 people. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control’s WISQARS, road traffic crashes are the leading cause of death in the United States for people aged 5–54.

Our San Francisco auto accident law firm has decades of combined experience handling car accident cases in the Bay Area. We have recovered over $1 billion in compensation for clients and have secured record-breaking verdicts and settlements, including a $21 million non-punitive verdict for a single individual in an auto/truck accident case (San Francisco County, Zivic v. Winterland).

Our firm focuses on representing individuals who have sustained catastrophic injuries – including brain injuries – and helping families who wish to pursue wrongful death lawsuits after losing a loved one in a fatal traffic collision.

Bostwick & Peterson serves clients in the San Francisco Bay Area and throughout California. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your motor vehicle case by calling us at (415) 991-6167 or filling out our online form.

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