With motorists reportedly driving at high speeds on less-congested streets during the pandemic, authorities and a traffic safety group Thursday voiced concerns about a recent spike in Los Angeles traffic fatalities, despite a decrease in the overall number of traffic collisions.
Los Angeles has seen a 38% decrease in traffic collisions during the pandemic, according to Damian Kevitt, executive director of Streets Are For Everyone, a nonprofit focused on street safety issues.
However, traffic fatalities have increased by 15% compared to the same time last year, and pedestrian fatalities have increased by 33%, with a majority of them occurring in the Los Angeles Police Department's South Bureau area, Kevitt said.
A coalition of nonprofits aimed at making streets safer teamed up with the LAPD at a Thursday morning news conference to "raise the alarm about this issue and take actions to prevent further loss of life,'' Kevitt said.
The news conference was held near the scene of a crash that occurred about 7 p.m. on May 1 at Imperial Highway and Compton Avenue in which three people died, according to the LAPD.
"This tragic incident is just one of over a dozen fatal traffic collisions that have occurred since the beginning of May ... with fatal traffic collisions on the rise throughout the city of Los Angeles,'' an LAPD statement said.
According to police, a Nissan Altima was speeding westbound on Imperial that evening when it rear-ended a Ford Fusion, rolled over and went airborne into the eastbound lanes, hitting an eastbound Honda Accord.
The driver and a passenger in the Altima were killed, along with the driver of the Accord, police said. The driver of the Fusion was not injured.
"We want people to get the message that they need to slow down and be aware of their surroundings,'' said LAPD Officer Tony Im. "They are seeing less traffic, and they are driving too fast. And they may not even be aware of how fast they are going.''