Learn the Top 5 Causes of Collisions in San Francisco

by Staff | May 9th, 2022

San Francisco has one of the lowest fatality rates of any county in the Bay Area. In terms of fatality rates per mile traveled, however, it is one of the most dangerous regions in the area. According to the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency (SFMTA), many collisions can be attributed to these five common causes.

1.    Speeding

Number of violation tickets issued in 2021 as of September, 2021: 1,059

Excessive speeding significantly impacts a driver’s reaction time, control over their vehicle, and the amount of time needed to stop. Speeding will likely result in a driver failing to slow down and react to road obstructions, traffic changes, and other incidents. Speeding was a contributing factor to 26% of fatal traffic accidents in California in 2019.

A speeding violation can result in a one-point violation under California law. A driver found guilty of speeding can face various fines, including a fine of $500 if they exceed 100 miles per hour.

2.    Violation of the Pedestrian Right of Way at a Crosswalk

Number of violation tickets issued in 2021 as of September, 2021: 157

Pedestrians have the right of way when using a marked or unmarked crosswalk in California. A driver has a duty of care to slow down and take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of pedestrians as they cross the crosswalks.

According to a 2020 study, only 28% of drivers nationwide yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk. Failing to yield to pedestrians in marked or unmarked crosswalks is a traffic violation of California law. Those found guilty of violating this law might be subject to a $241 fine and one point on their driver’s license.

3.    Not Stopping at Red Lights

Number of violation tickets issued in 2021 as of September, 2021: 600

Drivers in California must stop at red signals and may turn right at circular red lights. Those on one-way streets can only turn left onto another one-way street with a steady circular red signal. They must stop completely at a red arrow signal.

In 2019, a study found those who run red lights were young men with a ‌history of accidents or convictions of driving under the influence. Those who run red lights are also more likely to be speeding or drunk at the time of the crash. 

It is illegal for a driver to breach an intersection after the signal light has turned red. California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will place one point on the driving record of any driver who runs a red light or makes an illegal turn.

Running a red light will also result in a fine of $481, while an illegal turn made at a red light results in a $241 fine. You can also have your license suspended if you receive 4 points in violations within ‌12 months, 6 within ‌24 months, or 8 within ‌36 months.

4.    Running Stop Signs

Number of violation tickets issued in 2021 as of September, 2021: 870

All drivers must‌ come to a complete stop at stop signs, including those at intersections and railway crossings. However, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), stop signs do not lower traffic accidents in city blocks, as they can be blocked by vegetation and other obstructions. Using too many stop signs can cause drivers to be less aware of them.

This is evident in a 2003 study, where stop sign violations accounted for about 70% of crashes. A vehicle failing to stop at a stop sign will incur a $241 fine, while failing to come to a complete stop at a railroad crossing will incur a $481 penalty.

5.    Failure to Yield While Turning

Number of violation tickets issued in 2021 as of September, 2021: 1,347

All drivers are legally required to give the right-of-way to oncoming traffic until they can safely complete their turn. Drivers must comply with this law when making a left turn or a U-turn to the left when facing oncoming traffic.

Often, failing to yield while making a left turn is a misjudgment of the other drivers’ speed or distance, accounting for 5.5 % of all accidents at intersections. In California, they can face a fine of $367.

Take Legal Action with Help From Our Team

Even though driving is necessary for most Californians, it can be dangerous ‌due to others’ negligence. The San Francisco car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you hold the at-fault party accountable. Contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss how we can help you get the compensation you deserve after an accident.