Your Monthly Update

March 2023

U.S. Pedestrian Deaths Rise Yet Again in First Half of 2022: One Death Every 75 Minutes

Drivers in the United States struck and killed 3,434 people in the first half of 2022 – up 5%, or 168 more deaths, from the same period the year before, according to a press release from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). This deeply troubling projection follows a 40-year high in pedestrian deaths in 2021 and continues a gruesome decade-long trend of more people dying while walking on U.S. roads.

GHSA’s annual Spotlight on Highway Safety report offers the first look at state and national trends in 2022 pedestrian traffic deaths based on preliminary data provided by State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs). The data analysis found that the recent increase in pedestrian deaths is even more alarming when looking back to 2019, the last pre-pandemic year. Pedestrian deaths have surged 18%, or 519 additional lives lost, between the first half of 2019 and 2022.

The report attributes a combination of factors, including a surge in dangerous driving that began at the start of the pandemic; larger, heavier vehicles that are more likely to seriously injure or kill people on foot; roads designed to prioritize fast-moving traffic that make it more dangerous for pedestrians; and inadequate infrastructure such as sidewalks, crosswalks and lighting.

Over the past 10 years, pedestrian deaths in the first half of the year skyrocketed from 2,141 in 2013 to 3,434 in 2022 – a 60% increase, or nearly 1,300 additional lives lost. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 31,785 people died in crashes in the first nine months of 2022, a marginal decrease that comes on the heels of nearly 43,000 roadway deaths in 2021, the most since 2005.

At the state level, pedestrian fatalities increased in 24 states during the first half of 2022. California experienced a marginal decline. Twenty other states saw declines and the number of pedestrian deaths was unchanged in four states. While 15 states reported consecutive years of more pedestrian fatalities (January-June), only two states reported two straight years of decreases.

The data analysis also found that three states – California, Florida and Texas – accounted for 38% of all pedestrian deaths in the first six months of 2022 but are home to 28% of the U.S. population. These states are the most populated, and have warmer climates, which tend to see more foot traffic in urban areas where pedestrians and motor vehicles are more likely to share the road.

GHSA will publish a second, comprehensive Spotlight report this spring that will include state fatality projections for all of 2022, an analysis of 2021 data from NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and an overview of proven strategies states and communities are employing to reduce pedestrian crashes and injuries.

OTS and Caltrans Team Up With Sacramento Republic FC to Promote Safe Driving on Matchdays and Beyond

The OTS and Caltrans announced a renewed partnership with Sacramento Republic FC that drives an education campaign focused on safe and sober driving.

As a part of the “Go Safely” game plan program that was introduced in 2022, fans will continue to see messages at Heart Health Park raising awareness about the importance of having fun responsibly and not driving under the influence of alcohol.

Fans can also sign up for the Designated Driver Program and score a free non-alcoholic drink voucher and reusable cup for being a designated sober driver. The OTS and Caltrans will also distribute yellow cards to select fans at each home match with information on the “Go Safely” game plan and Designated Driver Program, giving fans a fun way to interact during the match.

“We are excited to grow our partnership with Sacramento Republic FC to further emphasize the importance of being responsible behind the wheel,” said OTS Director Barbara Rooney. “Let’s assist one another and save lives. It’s a win when we all play a part in making our roads safer for everyone.”

“As a part of our core value of Unified Community, we have a responsibility to protect each other, and that extends to keeping everyone safe on the road,” said Republic FC President and General Manager Todd Dunivant. “By extending our partnership with OTS and working with Caltrans to further promote the importance of safe driving, we are continuing our commitment to providing a safe and fun matchday experience for fans and making Sacramento a healthier place for all.”

“Caltrans is firmly committed to reaching zero fatalities and serious injuries on our state’s roadways by the year 2050,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares. “This bold effort will need all hands on deck, and Caltrans is thrilled to team up with the Office of Traffic Safety and Sac Republic FC to encourage drivers to do their part by slowing down, avoiding distractions, and never driving under the influence.”

Additional messaging and content will focus on safe and responsible driving beyond the dangers of drunk driving. Safe and sober driving messages will also appear in Republic FC matchday e-mails and broadcasts, as well as the club’s website, mobile app, and social media channels.

OTS Joins San Jose Mexican Consulate for Anti-DUI Event

The Consulado General de México en San Jose hosted the Cero Alcohol Al Volante (Zero Alcohol Driving) initiative event on Feb. 24. Held annually, the event provides the community with resources and an opportunity to meet with law enforcement, legal, and health and wellness partners. The OTS was excited to participate and share traffic safety education materials with the individuals and families in attendance.

Members of the Consulate said this initiative is important because it aims to prevent fatal crashes and strengthen the safety of the community by raising awareness of the dangers of driving under the influence.

Grantee Highlight: Citrus Heights Police Department Collaborates with Regional Law Enforcement Agencies

On Feb. 7, Citrus Heights Police Department hosted a Traffic Enforcement Collaboration Operation in response to multiple traffic safety concerns expressed by the community related to stop sign violations and speeding in the residential neighborhoods of Citrus Heights.

In collaboration with four regional law enforcement agencies (Sacramento Police Department, Folsom Police Department, Elk Grove Police Department, and West Sacramento Police Department), a total of 10 additional traffic/motor officers were used to staff this operation.

The initial focus for this operation was to enforce stop sign violations at predetermined locations in the city limits. In a three-hour operation, traffic officers from the region conducted approximately 131 vehicle stops and issued 113 citations.

Equity Corner: Safe Streets and Roads for All Grant Program


The OTS embraces its role in transportation safety to advance equity and prioritize its traffic safety efforts toward any person or community marginalized and burdened by poverty and inequality. We are launching Equity Corner, a new section of our monthly newsletter dedicated to identifying, understanding and addressing equity in transportation safety. Equity Corner will provide stakeholders and partners with relevant information and best practices and share how the OTS incorporates equity into all our programs.

Safe Streets and Roads for All

A generational investment in American’s transportation system is providing substantial resources to improve safety and save lives. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) established the new Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) discretionary program with $5 billion in appropriated funds over the next five years. The SS4A program funds regional, local, and Tribal initiatives through grants to prevent roadway deaths and serious injuries. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced the first $800 million in grants.

California communities are set to receive $133 million in funding from the program, with more than $44 million going to 20 jurisdictions in the Southern California region. This first round of grants provides funding to 37 implementation projects to reduce or eliminate traffic-related fatalities, 473 action plans in communities that do not currently have a roadway safety plan and communities that want to build upon an existing roadway safety plan.

This historic funding is an important step toward advancing equity and improving traffic safety in the state.

New Employee Spotlight

Pete Cargile

The OTS is pleased to announce Pete Cargile as the new Administrative Services Manager in the Technology and Administrative Services Division. Pete joins the OTS from the City of San Francisco, Asian Art Museum, where he has been managing the construction and installation of art exhibitions for the past five years.

Prior to joining the Asian Art Museum, he worked at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia as the primary art handler for their collection of artifacts. Pete’s introduction to the museum field started during college with a Student Assistant position at the California Department of Parks and Recreation, where he worked to pack, move, and store part of the State Parks collection. Pete is a fifth generation Sacramento native and has year-old twin daughters.

We asked Pete a few questions to get to know him.

Answers may have been edited for length and clarity.

What are you looking forward to most in your new role?

Getting fully up to speed. I know it will take some time, especially as my first position with the state, but I love to help people and solve problems. I want to be the person you think of when you need help. At the Asian Art Museum, I was firmly planted at the crossroads of several departments and enjoyed directing workflow and clearing roadblocks. I hope to bring that same enthusiasm here to the OTS. 

What is your favorite TV Show?

“New Girl”

One day to unplug. No strings attached. What would that day look like?

Laying on the beach in Hawaii, next to my wife, Mai Tai in hand. Alternating between reading and napping. All while my kids magically behave and play safely in the water.

What or who inspires you?

My partner Cassie. Our twin girls were born almost three months premature, but you’d never know it looking at them today. Cassie has dedicated every waking (and non-waking) minute to their well-being with so much grace and patience that I am constantly in awe in her ability to still be standing.

Arnold Hy

The OTS is pleased to announce Arnold Hy as the new Traffic Safety Specialist in the Program Planning and Grant Operations Division. Arnold joined the­­ OTS from the California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) where he served as the Staff Services Manager I for the DCC Public Affairs Division's Customer Service Section for the last two years.

He has over 10 years of experience in State service, including as an Associate Governmental Program Analyst for DCC's Licensing Division, Program Coordinator for CALFIRE's Automatic Extinguishing Systems Licensing and Certification Program, and Staff Services Analyst in the Business Programs Division of the Secretary of State's Office. Arnold loves sports, outdoor activities, and spending time with his wife and two children. His favorite sports teams are the Sacramento Kings and the San Francisco 49ers.

We asked Arnold a few questions to get to know him.

Answers may have been edited for length and clarity.


What are you looking forward to most in your new role?  

What I am looking forward to the most in my new role is working with the all the great people at OTS and our partners throughout the state in developing and administering traffic safety initiatives and programs.  Everyone at OTS has been so nice and welcoming, and I can’t wait to begin working with grantees in supporting their programs to improve traffic safety for everyone on California roadways.


What is your favorite movie? 

“The Matrix”


One day to unplug. No strings attached. What would that day look like? 

That day would be filled with lots of outdoor activities and time with family and friends. We would go to the beach, swim in the ocean, go on a hike, play games, and relax in the sun. I would also play some pick-up basketball with some buddies and then end the day with a BBQ surrounded by family and friends.          


What or who inspires you? 

My parents inspire me the most. It amazes me that they had the courage at such a young age to move across the world to a foreign country, start a new life, learn a new language, and raise a family of six children.

Biden-Harris Administration Announces First-Ever Awards from Program to Reconnect Communities

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced in a press release a historic $185 million in grant awards for 45 projects through the new Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program, a first-of-its-kind initiative to reconnect communities that are cut off from opportunity and burdened by past transportation infrastructure decisions.

Established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Reconnecting Communities Program provides technical assistance and funding for communities’ planning and construction projects that aim to connect neighborhoods back together by removing, retrofitting, or mitigating transportation barriers such as highways and railroad tracks. 

Transportation infrastructure should help people get where they need to be, but, too often in our nation’s history, transportation infrastructure has done the opposite by dividing neighborhoods and cutting off communities from opportunity. For example, highways and rail lines can be physical barriers, preventing residents from easy access to social and economic opportunities. This burden is often felt most by communities of color.

This first round of grants will fund construction and planning for transformative community-led solutions, including capping interstates with parks, filling in sunken highways to reclaim the land for housing, converting inhospitable transportation facilities to tree-lined Complete Streets, and creating new crossings through public transportation, bridges, tunnels and trails. These projects will help revitalize communities, provide access to jobs and opportunity, and reduce pollution.

The following California projects received funding through the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program:

$30 Million, Shoreline Drive Gateway, Long Beach

The project will reconfigure West Shoreline Drive to remove a roadway barrier and improve access and connectivity between Downtown Long Beach and public open space, create a new bicycle path and pedestrian amenities, and divert highway traffic from residential streets to major roads.

$680,000, Vision 980 Feasibility Study, Oakland

Funds will be used to explore alternatives for reconnecting communities along the I-980 corridor with an expanded focus on community integration and environmental justice. The I-980 freeway divides disadvantaged communities in West Oakland from downtown Oakland and is a barrier to travel and economic opportunities between these communities.

$2 Million, SR-710 Northern Stub Re-envisioning Project, Pasadena

Funds will be used to support the study of transportation and land use needs related to the future redevelopment of Pasadena’s recently relinquished highway “stub.” The three-year planning process, which will include a feasibility analysis and vision planning, will ultimately result in a 710 Northern Stub Site-Specific Plan. The goal is to develop a collaborative plan for the 60-acre site that considers redressing historic inequities, while coordinating land use, housing, and transportation needs that are reflective of the city’s existing and future population.

$600,000, Parkway Drive at State Route 99 Pedestrian Bridge, Fresno

Funds will be used to support planning activities for a pedestrian bridge that crosses California State Route 99 and connects Parkway Drive and Roeding Park, primarily serving the Jane Addams Neighborhood. Planning activities include a community participation plan, concept drawings, preliminary engineering, and environmental review.

$2 Million Monterey Road Highway to Grand Boulevard Design Study, San Jose

Funds will be used to assess the feasibility and conceptual designs for converting Monterey Road from a motor highway to a grand boulevard that is enjoyable and safe for all road users. The project will undertake planning, design, conceptual engineering, and environmental review to reconstruct the road and intersections as a complete street through the project area. The project is expected to include dedicated transit lanes, protected bike lanes, and urban greening.

“We are excited to see five California projects receive funding as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s first Reconnecting Communities Pilot Project grant awards,” said California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) Secretary Toks Omishakin. “Transportation should always improve access to opportunity and be a uniter not a divider. These awards, coupled with the forthcoming $150 million state investment for a parallel Highways to Boulevards pilot program, will allow California neighborhoods divided by transportation infrastructure – particularly historically disadvantaged communities – to take steps to remove literal barriers to opportunity and begin making up for past harms.”

CalSTA's Core Four principles focus on safety, equity, climate action and economic prosperity, which align with national actions to improve the quality of life for all communities.

More information about the awards is available on the USDOT Website.

New Blog: Toks Talks Transportation

In February, the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) launched Toks Talks Transportation, a blog by Secretary Toks Omishakin. The blog will cover a wide range of topics, ideas and thoughts as related to transportation and quality of life. Toks Talks Transportation provides content featuring the Secretary’s observations and reflections as they connect to transportation and quality of life for all people.

Read Secretary Omishakin’s introductory message and bookmark the blog to read future posts.

Attention Grabbing: Helping Drivers Spot Roadside Workers

More than half of roadway workers surveyed by the AAA Foundation said they were nearly hit while helping stranded drivers on the side of the road, demonstrating the need to test various actions to protect roadside workers.

Among the tow truck drivers, emergency responders and road maintenance workers surveyed, 60% had experienced a near-miss while working at the roadside, while an astonishing 15% had survived being hit by a passing vehicle, the Foundation announced in a press release.

The AAA Foundation conducted two field studies testing several countermeasures to protect workers, and found an electronic vehicle-mounted variable message sign (VMS) was the most effective way to keep roadside workers safe. With VMS activated, the odds of a vehicle moving over a lane were 95% higher. Passenger vehicles were more responsive to the VMS than trucks or buses, although both were more likely to move over when VMS was active than when not.

The Foundation also examined cones, flares, and emergency flashing light patterns, and found these led to significant lane shifts by drivers but were less effective at reducing speeds or increasing the distance to the passing vehicles that did not change lanes.


On average, two emergency responders, including tow truck drivers, are struck and killed every month by a driver who fails to move over to an adjacent lane, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Roadside crashes are notably deadly for tow truck drivers. Government data shows that tow operators are killed at a rate of almost 43 deaths per 100,000 workers, compared to just three for all other industries.

While all 50 States have “Move Over” laws, motorist awareness and compliance are inconsistent. These laws require drivers to slow down or change lanes whenever first responders such as police, EMS, fire, and tow trucks are on the roadside. Also, some states have laws requiring drivers to change lanes or slow down when approaching a broken-down vehicle. California’s “Move Over” law requires all drivers to move over a lane or, if they are unable to do that safely, slow down when they see amber flashing lights on Caltrans vehicles, law enforcement and emergency vehicles, and tow trucks.

With highway speeds often over 65 mph, drivers may find it difficult to spot and react to incident response personnel, including tow truck drivers, police, and emergency responders.

The results from the field studies suggest that using VMS, nighttime light patterns, cones, or flares can positively impact the behaviors of passing motorists under most circumstances.

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