California Daylighting Law

California Daylighting Law – Is It Really Effective in Reducing Accidents?

Day lighting, a new traffic safety measure in California, aims to boost visibility at crosswalks by keeping them clear of parked vehicles.  It became legally enforced starting January 1, 2024.

What’s Day lighting All About?

California Street

Alright, let’s break it down. Day lighting is all about removing those annoying parked cars near crosswalks to improve visibility.  Think about it: no more craning your neck to see past a bulky SUV when you’re crossing the street.

It’s all about creating clear sight lines for both pedestrians and drivers, helping to prevent those unfortunate “I didn’t see them!” moments.

Did the Law Accomplish Anything?

1. Reduction in Pedestrian Injuries

Cities that implemented the day lighting law observed a significant drop in pedestrian injuries.

For example, Bloomberg reported that the city claims a 30% decrease in pedestrian injuries after adopting daylighting measures.

2. Pedestrian Fatalities

Despite the law’s intent, pedestrian fatalities in California have remained higher than the national average.

KTLA reports that the latest data from the California Office of Traffic Safety indicate that pedestrian deaths are 25% higher than the national average.

3. Impact on Parking

According to Patch, the law has affected parking availability, with estimates suggesting that about 5% of on-street parking spaces in cities like San Francisco have been impacted.

This reduction in parking aims to improve visibility at crosswalks, contributing to safer streets.

4. Traffic Fatalities

Mercury News reports that in Oakland, pedestrian deaths accounted for 45% of the total traffic fatalities last year. The day lighting law is expected to help reduce these numbers by enhancing pedestrian safety at crosswalks.

5. Driver Awareness and Compliance

The new legislation requires drivers to park at a greater distance from crosswalks, increasing the visibility of pedestrians.  This change is part of a broader effort to enhance road safety and reduce pedestrian-related accidents.

The Law Takes Effect


Since January 1, 2024, it’s been official. Parking within 20 feet (ca. 6 m) of a crosswalk, whether it’s painted or not, is a no-go.

This means keeping a distance that’s roughly one large car length from any crosswalk. So, if you’ve got a favorite parking spot right next to the crosswalk, better find a new one.

Assembly Bill 413

This isn’t just some random rule. It’s backed by California Assembly Bill 413, signed into law in October 2023.

And California isn’t alone here; over 40 other states and numerous international guidelines have similar regulations. The idea is to create a universal standard for pedestrian safety.

Making Crosswalks Safer

Think about kids trying to cross the street. With cars parked right up to the crosswalk, they often have to step dangerously into the road to see if it’s safe to cross.

Day lighting changes that. It gives everyone a better view, making it easier for pedestrians to see oncoming traffic and for drivers to spot people waiting to cross.

Visual Aid – See It to Believe It

Diagrams on the webpage show just how much of a difference that 20 feet (ca. 6 m) of clearance makes.  Whether the crosswalk is marked or not, those visuals make it clear: visibility improves significantly.

It’s one of those “a picture is worth a thousand words” situations.

Enforcement Timeline

Initially, law enforcement will be giving warnings. You’ve got a year, from January 2024 to January 2025, to get used to the new rules.

After that, expect citations if you’re caught parking too close to crosswalks. And yes, this applies in San Francisco, too, even if there’s no sign or paint indicating the daylighting zone.

A Long Time Coming

Day lighting isn’t a new concept. Many states in the U.S. and several international jurisdictions have had similar rules for years.  They’ve seen positive results in terms of reduced accidents and improved road safety.

San Francisco’s Vision Zero

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SF MTA) is all in on day lighting. It’s part of their Vision Zero strategy, which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities.  They’re committed to rolling out day lighting city-wide, making it a key piece of their road safety puzzle.

More Resources

For those who want to dig deeper, the page includes links to further reading on the National Association of City Transportation Officials’ guidelines. Details on California’s Vehicle Code, and more on the historical context for traffic laws related to day lighting.

Oceanside’s Perspective

Oceanside is a perfect example of why day lighting is necessary. There have been too many close calls with pedestrians nearly getting hit because parked cars blocked their view.

The local police have highlighted the rising number of pedestrian collisions, and they’re all in favor of the new law as a preventative measure.

Following the Leader

Los Angeles

California isn’t the first to introduce day lighting laws, and it won’t be the last. Other states have already implemented similar laws and seen positive outcomes.

It’s part of a broader trend in traffic safety and urban planning aimed at protecting pedestrians in busy or visually obstructed areas.

Educating the Masses

Communities, especially places like Oceanside, are focusing on educating drivers about the importance of keeping intersections clear.  It doesn’t matter if the crosswalk is painted or not; keeping that area clear is vital for everyone’s safety.

Assembly Bill 413’s Ambiguities

Assembly Bill 413, introduced by Assemblymember Alex Lee, has some gray areas. For example, it doesn’t specifically define what constitutes an unmarked crosswalk.

This could lead to some enforcement challenges, but the primary goal is clear: improve mutual visibility at intersections.

Pedestrian Safety Stats

Los Angeles has seen significant pedestrian injuries and deaths, with a notable increase in severe injuries and fatalities. This law aims to address those statistics head-on by improving safety at crosswalks.

Daylighting seems like a simple measure, but its impact can be profound. By keeping crosswalks clear of parked cars, visibility improves, and accidents can be reduced. As California rolls out this new law, it’s an essential step toward safer streets for everyone.

Wrapping Up

So, is daylighting effective? All signs point to yes. It’s a straightforward, common-sense approach to making crosswalks safer. As enforcement ramps up and drivers get used to the new rules, expect to see a positive change in pedestrian safety across California.

For now, let’s hope drivers pay attention and start parking a little further from those crosswalks. It might just save a life.

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