More “Senior” Pedestrian Signs Encouraged in Ting Legislation

For immediate release:

AB 707 would allow alternative funding resources to pay for the sign

Sacramento – Assemblymember Philip Y. Ting (D-San Francisco) presented the merits of AB 707, his legislation that would promote an increase in “senior” pedestrian signage, to members of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee today. The legislation would encourage local transportation agencies to install pedestrian warning signs for high-risk sites by allowing additional funding sources to pay for them.  The committee approved the measure on a vote of 10 to 0.

“Pedestrians are the most vulnerable victims of traffic accidents, and the older you get the more likely you will be injured or killed in a pedestrian traffic accident,” Ting said. “AB 707 will provide added safety to those areas where seniors congregate by posting more signs. Giving motorists a warning of ‘senior pedestrians ahead’ can reduce accidents.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, individuals over the age of 65 are especially exposed to pedestrian traffic accidents, and account for approximately 19 percent of fatalities. Each day, 324 people on average are treated in emergency departments for pedestrian injuries related to motor vehicle accidents, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And older patients, at least age 55, are more likely to suffer from multiple fractures than their younger counterparts.

In California, according to a report issued in February 2012 by the California Office for Traffic Safety, the number of seniors at least 65 years old who were killed in pedestrian traffic accidents was up by almost five percent in 2010 as compared to the year before.

“Many seniors in California enjoy getting outdoors and walking, and in urban areas, walking can be a main mode of transportation,” Ting told the committee. “But pedestrian safety — or lack thereof — is a serious and growing problem in my community of San Francisco and across the state. It is becoming a major quality of life issue.”

Current law does not require that a local agency install a senior pedestrian sign unless they receive adequate funding from a private source.  AB 707 would eliminate that roadblock and authorize local jurisdictions to request grant funding from California’s Pedestrian Safety Account to cover the costs of the pedestrian warning signs. The legislation enjoys the support of the California Alliance for Retired Americans, California Walks and California Disability Rights. The bill now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Assemblymember Ting is the Chair of Assembly Democratic Caucus and the Assembly Select Committee on Asia/California Trade and Investment Promotion, and he serves on the Budget, Business, Professions and Consumer Protection, Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials and the Revenue and Taxation committees.

CONTACT: Carol Chamberlain, carol.chamberlain@asm.ca.gov, office: 916-319-2019, cell: 916-804-5355