Auto Accident

Why Los Angeles Car Accidents Are on the Rise Again

Woman texting and driving in a highway.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed many things in Los Angeles, including the way people interacted with each other and reacted to new challenges. But one thing that never changed was the number of people who were killed in traffic accidents in LA.

As lockdown restrictions have begun relaxing again, car accidents are slowly on the rise again. Despite the city’s efforts to reduce the number of car accidents on its roads, poor driver behavior and road conditions are just some of the factors that lead to a high number of deadly crashes. Let's look at some of the main causes of car accidents in the city of Los Angeles.

Car Accident Rates in Los Angeles

Los Angeles skyline picture with palm trees in the middle at sunset.
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In Los Angeles, the rate of car accidents has become increasingly noticeable in recent years, reflecting a concerning trend. According to a verified statistic from the California Highway Patrol (CHP), there was a staggering 43% increase in car accidents in Los Angeles County from 2015 to 2019. This alarming surge in accidents underscores the pressing need for effective measures to address road safety in the city.

Furthermore, despite the drastic reduction in the number of cars on the roads and a decline in overall car crashes during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns in 2020, the number of people killed in traffic accidents in Los Angeles remained virtually unchanged between 2010 and 2020, according to data provided by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). This statistic reveals a startling reality: even when the number of vehicles on the roads was significantly reduced, the number of fatalities resulting from car accidents did not show a corresponding decline.

These statistics serve as a wake-up call, highlighting the urgent need for comprehensive strategies to address the persistently high car accident rates in Los Angeles. As the city gradually emerges from the pandemic and commuting options reopen, it is crucial to implement effective road safety initiatives that prioritize the protection of all road users. By combining education, enforcement, and infrastructure improvements, we can strive to create safer roads and prevent unnecessary loss of life on Los Angeles streets.

What's Behind the High Rate of Car Accidents in Los Angeles?

Graphic render of question black and orange question marks
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As mentioned above, traffic accident deaths remained unchanged, even when the number of people killed in car accidents dropped dramatically. This seems to indicate that regardless of how many people are killed in traffic accidents in LA, the number of accidents is going to remain high.

So, the real question is: why are there that many traffic accidents in the city of Angeles?

There are many factors that can lead to a high rate of car accidents in Los Angeles. Let's look at some of the most important ones.

1. Distracted Driving

Woman driving while using her phone
Photo by kevin laminto on Unsplash

A new problem has arisen in the 21st century. It's a problem that's never been seen before, and it's causing havoc in the streets of Los Angeles. Distracted drivers are causing car accidents here. This is mainly due to drivers who are on the phone or doing some other kind of activity that may distract them from driving. Driving is a critical task that must be done safely. When you're texting, the risk of an accident has dramatically increased.

Every year, there's an average of 240 people killed in driving accidents in Los Angeles. A huge chunk of those deaths is due to distracted drivers or even pedestrians on the road. Distracted driving is on the rise, and unless drivers become more responsible, the number of accidents caused by it will only increase.

Some Common Distractions While Driving

  1. Cell Phone Use: One of the leading causes of distracted driving is the use of cell phones. Whether it's talking, texting, or using apps, the allure of our smartphones can easily divert our attention from the road.
  2. Texting: Sending or reading text messages while driving is an especially dangerous distraction. It requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention, significantly increasing the risk of accidents.
  3. Talking to Passengers: Engaging in lively conversations with passengers can be enjoyable, but it can also draw our focus away from the task of driving. It's essential to strike a balance between social interaction and maintaining concentration on the road.
  4. Eating and Drinking: Eating a meal or sipping a beverage while driving may seem convenient, but it diverts attention from the road and takes at least one hand off the wheel, compromising control.
  5. Grooming: Applying makeup, combing hair, or adjusting clothing while behind the wheel are all common distractions that can have serious consequences. Personal grooming tasks should be completed before or after reaching your destination.
  6. Reading: Attempting to read a map, book, or any other form of printed material while driving is a dangerous distraction. It is vital to plan routes in advance and use proper navigation tools to minimize the need for reading while driving.
  7. Adjusting Controls: Adjusting vehicle controls like the radio, air conditioning, or GPS can divert attention away from the road. It's crucial to make these adjustments before starting the journey or when stopped in a safe location.
  8. Daydreaming: Allowing one's mind to wander while driving can lead to a lack of focus on the road and potential hazards. Staying mentally present and engaged is vital to prevent accidents.
  9. Rubbernecking: The curiosity to observe accidents, roadside incidents, or other distractions can tempt drivers to take their eyes off the road ahead. Focusing on the road and maintaining situational awareness is paramount.
  10. External Distractions: External factors such as billboards, construction sites, or other vehicles can also distract drivers. It's important to resist the urge to divert attention from driving and stay focused on the task at hand.

2. Unsafe Roads

Close up of Sunset Boulevard sign
Photo by Cedric Letsch on Unsplash

Los Angeles has a lot of unsafe roads, especially in the city's poorer neighborhoods. This means that drivers, who are not familiar with these roads, are in danger of hitting potholes and other road damages.

A majority of the roads in Los Angeles are in bad condition. There's a need for all drivers to drive slowly when on damaged roads. If roads are not fixed right away, drivers are in danger of hitting holes and potholes on the road and causing an accident.

Notable Unsafe Roads in Los Angeles

  1. Sunset Boulevard: While famous for its iconic status, Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles has earned a reputation for its challenging driving conditions. The road can be narrow and winding, with heavy traffic and limited visibility in certain sections, increasing the risk of accidents.
  2. Interstate 405 (San Diego Freeway): Known for its notorious traffic congestion, the I-405 is a major freeway that traverses Los Angeles County. The high volume of vehicles, frequent lane changes, and complex interchanges contribute to a heightened risk of accidents and delays.
  3. Pacific Coast Highway (PCH): Stretching along the scenic coastline of Southern California, Pacific Coast Highway has its share of challenges. The road features winding curves, steep inclines, and frequent merging traffic, making it prone to accidents, especially during peak travel seasons.
  4. Hollywood Boulevard: As a popular tourist destination, Hollywood Boulevard attracts a significant number of pedestrians and vehicles. The combination of distracted drivers, jaywalking pedestrians, and bustling activity can make this road particularly hazardous.
  5. Wilshire Boulevard: Wilshire Boulevard is a major thoroughfare that runs across Los Angeles, spanning a significant distance. It experiences heavy traffic congestion, frequent lane changes, and diverse intersections, making it susceptible to accidents, especially during peak commuting hours.
  6. Mulholland Drive: Renowned for its breathtaking views of the city, Mulholland Drive winds along the hills of Los Angeles. However, its narrow lanes, blind curves, and occasional lack of guardrails pose risks for inexperienced or distracted drivers.
  7. Santa Monica Boulevard: Santa Monica Boulevard is a bustling roadway that runs through several neighborhoods in Los Angeles. It encounters heavy traffic, multiple intersections, and frequent pedestrian activity, requiring drivers to remain vigilant to ensure safety.

3. Drunk Driving

Man holding an alcohol bottle while driving
Image by wirestock on Freepik

Drunk driving is perhaps one of the significant causes of car accidents in Los Angeles. Drivers who are impaired by alcohol are a danger to themselves and to others when they get behind the wheel. Driving under the influence of alcohol involves an irresponsible choice on the part of the driver because they put their own lives, as well as the lives of others, in danger.

A person who's under the influence could make driving mistakes due to their impaired state. If you're driving under the influence, you're more likely to get into an accident and end up injuring yourself or someone else. If you're riding a passenger in a car driven by an impaired driver, you're in a dangerous situation as well because, in such a moment, every second is crucial.

Driving under the influence of alcohol can have severe legal consequences in Los Angeles and throughout the United States. When a drunk driver causes an accident resulting in injuries or fatalities, they may face criminal charges and civil liability for their actions.

Criminal charges: In Los Angeles, drunk driving offenses are taken seriously. If a driver is found to be operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit of 0.08%, they can be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). The penalties for DUI can include fines, license suspension, mandatory alcohol education programs, probation, and even jail time, depending on the circumstances and any prior convictions. In cases where the accident causes severe injuries or fatalities, the charges can be elevated to felony DUI, leading to more severe penalties.

Civil liability: In addition to facing criminal charges, a drunk driver who causes an accident can also be held financially liable for the damages and injuries they cause. Victims of drunk driving accidents may pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the impaired driver to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related damages. In cases involving wrongful death, the family of the deceased victim may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the drunk driver.

Insurance implications: Drunk driving accidents can also have implications for insurance coverage. If a driver is convicted of DUI, their insurance rates may increase significantly, and they may even face policy cancellations or non-renewals. Additionally, if the drunk driver's insurance policy does not provide sufficient coverage to compensate the victims adequately, they may be personally responsible for the remaining damages.

It is essential to remember that these legal consequences serve to hold drunk drivers accountable for their actions and to deter others from engaging in similar behavior. The potential criminal and civil ramifications aim to ensure justice for victims and their families, while also sending a strong message about the seriousness of driving under the influence.

4. Reckless Driving

Car speeding on highway.
Photo by benjamin lehman on Unsplash

Reckless driving is a serious offense that poses a significant threat to the safety of drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and property. In Los Angeles, a city known for its bustling streets and congested traffic, the presence of reckless drivers further compounds the risks on the roadways. Reckless driving encompasses various dangerous behaviors that violate traffic laws and compromise the well-being of others. Some common reckless driving offenses include:

  1. Speeding: Exceeding the posted speed limits or driving too fast for road conditions is a prevalent form of reckless driving. Speeding reduces a driver's ability to react to unexpected situations, increases stopping distances, and amplifies the severity of accidents.
  2. Aggressive driving: Aggressive drivers engage in hostile behaviors such as tailgating, frequent lane changes without signaling, weaving through traffic, or engaging in confrontational behaviors towards other drivers. These actions heighten tensions on the road and can escalate into dangerous situations.
  3. Street racing: Illegal street racing is a significant problem in Los Angeles, particularly among young drivers. Engaging in high-speed races on public roads not only endangers the participants but also puts innocent bystanders at risk.
  4. Running red lights and stop signs: Disregarding traffic signals and stop signs is a reckless behavior that dramatically increases the chances of intersection collisions. Failing to obey these crucial traffic control devices poses a grave danger to everyone sharing the road.
  5. Reckless lane changes: Abrupt lane changes without signaling, cutting off other vehicles, or weaving through traffic recklessly can cause sudden and unexpected accidents, leading to injuries or fatalities.
  6. Tailgating: Following other vehicles too closely, or tailgating, is not only aggressive but also significantly reduces the time available to react to sudden braking or obstacles, increasing the risk of rear-end collisions.
  7. Improper passing: Reckless drivers may attempt unsafe passing maneuvers, such as passing on the shoulder, passing in no-passing zones, or passing without adequate visibility, endangering themselves and others.

6. Traffic Congestion

Blurry photo of traffic in a highway
Photo by Joseph Chan on Unsplash

Traffic congestion in Los Angeles remains a persistent problem that significantly contributes to car accidents in the city. The high volume of vehicles on the road, coupled with limited infrastructure and ongoing construction projects, creates a challenging driving environment. According to recent data, Los Angeles ranks among the top cities in the United States with the worst traffic congestion.

A study conducted by INRIX, a transportation analytics company, revealed that in 2021, Los Angeles drivers spent an average of 97 hours stuck in traffic congestion, surpassing other major cities like New York and San Francisco. This staggering amount of time spent in traffic not only leads to frustration and delays but also increases the risk of accidents.

The correlation between traffic congestion and accidents is evident. When drivers find themselves stuck in long queues or facing slow-moving traffic, impatience and frustration can set in. In an attempt to save time or find alternative routes, some drivers may make unsafe decisions such as aggressive lane changes, tailgating, or running red lights. These actions significantly heighten the risk of collisions and endanger the safety of all road users.

Furthermore, the increased time spent on the road due to traffic congestion also contributes to driver fatigue, which impairs judgment and reaction times, further increasing the likelihood of accidents. Research has shown that fatigued driving poses similar risks to driving under the influence of alcohol, making it a critical factor to consider in congested areas like Los Angeles.

Efforts to alleviate traffic congestion in Los Angeles have been ongoing, including infrastructure improvements, expansion of public transportation, and the promotion of carpooling and alternative commuting options. However, the city's vast population and ongoing urban development present significant challenges in effectively reducing congestion levels.

As the city continues to grow, it becomes crucial for drivers to exercise patience, remain vigilant, and prioritize safety while navigating through the congested roadways. Adhering to traffic laws, maintaining a safe following distance, and avoiding aggressive maneuvers can help mitigate the risks associated with traffic congestion and ultimately contribute to a safer driving experience for all.

7. LA Weather Conditions

Close up of Wet Asphalt
Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

Although Los Angeles is known for its generally pleasant weather, it is not exempt from occasional extreme weather conditions that can impact driving conditions and contribute to car accidents. While the city experiences mild and sunny weather for a significant part of the year, there are certain weather events that can create hazardous driving conditions.

Rainfall in Los Angeles can lead to increased risks on the roads. On average, the city receives around 15 inches (38 centimeters) of rainfall annually. While this may seem moderate compared to some other regions, the impact of rain on LA's roadways can be significant due to the city's infrastructure and the lack of regular precipitation. When rain does occur, it often causes roads to become slick and slippery, making it challenging for drivers to maintain control of their vehicles, especially at higher speeds.

In addition to rainfall, another weather phenomenon that affects Los Angeles is fog. Foggy conditions can significantly reduce visibility, making it difficult for drivers to see other vehicles, road signs, and potential hazards. Dense fog is most common in coastal areas, including parts of Los Angeles. When drivers encounter foggy conditions, it is crucial to reduce speed, use appropriate headlights, and maintain a safe following distance to avoid accidents.

While severe weather events like snowstorms or hurricanes are rare in Los Angeles, they can occur in nearby mountainous regions or during exceptional weather patterns. These events can impact driving conditions in the city indirectly, leading to increased traffic and potentially hazardous situations as drivers navigate through adverse weather-affected areas.

To ensure road safety during inclement weather, it is essential for drivers in Los Angeles to exercise caution, adapt their driving behavior to the prevailing conditions, and allow for increased travel time. Being aware of weather forecasts, practicing defensive driving techniques, and maintaining proper vehicle maintenance can help mitigate the risks associated with adverse weather conditions and reduce the likelihood of accidents on the roads of Los Angeles.


With a lot to do and see in Los Angeles, it has become a hub for both tourists and locals. However, while it has a lot of cool attractions and things to do, it has also become a danger zone for drivers. Los Angeles may be a great destination, but it can also be a dangerous place to be if you don't pay attention when you're on the road.

If you happen to be involved in an accident, you're going to need the help of a good lawyer to guide you. This is where Mendez & Sanchez Law comes into play. Our team is here to help you fight your legal battles. The good thing about our services is if we don't win your case, you pay us nothing. With our experience and level of professionalism, we’re confident we can help you with your case. Whenever you need a Los Angeles auto accident lawyer, Mendez & Sanchez Law is the firm to call. Contact us today for a free consultation.


Yes, there has been a significant increase in car accidents in Los Angeles. According to the California Highway Patrol, there was a staggering 43% increase in car accidents in Los Angeles County from 2015 to 2019.

No, the number of people killed in traffic accidents in Los Angeles remained virtually unchanged between 2010 and 2020, despite the drastic reduction in the number of cars on the roads during the lockdowns.

Some of the main causes of car accidents in Los Angeles include distracted driving, unsafe roads, drunk driving, reckless driving, traffic congestion, and weather conditions.

Common distractions while driving include cell phone use, texting, talking to passengers, eating and drinking, grooming, reading, adjusting controls, daydreaming, rubbernecking, and external distractions.

Traffic congestion in Los Angeles increases the risk of car accidents due to impatience, frustration, and unsafe driving behaviors such as aggressive lane changes and running red lights. It also leads to driver fatigue, impairing judgment and reaction times.

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