News from the Office of District Attorney George Gascón


June 20, 2018
Twitter: @GeorgeGascon
 (415) 553-1931          |        NIKESH PATEL (415) 734-3205




SAN FRANCISCO – Today, in honor of Elder Abuse Awareness Month, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office announced the initiation of the Senior Pedestrian Safety Campaign. The campaign seeks to decrease seniors’ risk of pedestrian injury and increase safety.


“Protecting the most vulnerable members of our community is part of our civic duty,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “Although seniors constitute 14% of the city’s population, they suffered 50% of pedestrian fatalities in 2017. Many seniors live independently in San Francisco, and my office wants to prioritize the safety of the city’s increasing senior population.”


A joint campaign by the District Attorney’s Office, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), and Vision Zero SF aims to reduce mortality rates by raising awareness about high-injury areas. As it stands, 62% of all senior pedestrian injuries and 71% of fatal or severe injuries occur on 12% of streets, known as the “High Injury Network.”


The office will begin raising bright yellow flags in all high injury corridors today with messages for drivers, such as “Drive Slow / Seniors Crossing” and “Drive Slow / Give Seniors a Brake.” Because many seniors in San Francisco are not English speakers, the flags are available in three languages — English, Spanish, and Chinese — depending on the demographic composition of the neighborhood.


The Senior Pedestrian Safety campaign is supported by grant funds awarded to the District Attorney’s Office by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES). In addition to displaying flags in high-injury corridors, the DA’s Office, in partnership with SFMTA, is working to have the campaign on buses and bus shelters. A large portion of the grant also goes toward conducting outreach to the elder population regarding financial scams and fraud.


For this campaign, the SFDA’s Office worked closely to implement Vision Zero, the city’s road safety policy adopted in 2014 with the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities by 2024. In the past, the office and Vision Zero team developed a rapid response protocol to work more effectively with victims and families affected by pedestrian incidents. The SFDA’s Office is hopeful that this campaign will continue our history of success. In 2017, combined initiatives led to the lowest number of traffic fatalities on record in San Francisco.


“Seniors are disproportionately victims of traffic crashes in San Francisco,” said Tom Maguire, Director of Sustainable Streets at the SFMTA. “With this campaign, San Francisco’s communities and city agencies are coming together to share the message that slowing down can save a life.”


SFDA’s other partners include the San Francisco Police Department, the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Office, SFDPH Crisis Response Team, the Department of Public Health, the Mayor’s Office, the California Highway Patrol, and the SFDA Victim Services Division.


To help make roads safer for seniors, drivers should pay special attention to the yellow flags and the high-injury corridors they mark. Most traffic fatalities occur when drivers run red lights, fail to yield to pedestrians, or speed. The damages of speeding in particular can be underestimated — doubling the speed of travel from 20 mph to 40 mph reduces the survival rate of persons hit by vehicles by more than four times. By acting more responsibly, drivers can give seniors and all other pedestrians a safer walking environment.