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Driving across the Inland Empire is part of what makes the area special. With a population of almost four million people — and climbing — there is a lot packed into the 27,000 square miles area. Some communities are only a 45-minute drive to the snowy ski slopes of Mount Baldy, while others are only 45-minutes from the sand and surf at Huntington Beach.
Is Inland Empire a good place to live? It depends on who you ask. Retired couples love the dry desert climate, picturesque golf courses and close-knit communities in Palm Springs. Every year, the world flocks to Coachella for one of the best music festivals in North America, and outdoor enthusiasts make the drive to Joshua Tree National Park to explore the surreal geological experience of two different desert ecosystems.
However, driving around the Inland Empire is also a headache for the more than one million daily commuters who live in San Bernardino and Riverside County, and make the drive to work in the Los Angeles area.
With some of the highest number of commuters in the United States, and almost 80% of commuters choosing to drive alone, there are more cars on the highway to increase the risk of Riverside traffic accidents. With four interstate freeways and 32 state routes, there are several alternate routes available if gridlock occurs due unexpected traffic accidents. However, Inland Empire traffic congestion is expected to get worse as the population is expected to grow to 7.2 million residents by 2046.
Will Commute Times Improve in the Inland Empire?
According to U.S. Census data from 2019, commute times are longer than average for both San Bernardino at 31.9 minutes and Riverside at 35.7 minutes — compared to California at 30.7 minutes and the entire U.S. at 27.6 minutes.
Although these are some of the longest commute times in the country, more companies are opting for employees to work from home and ongoing transportation projects are planned to help reduce commute times. For example, there are several projects designed to improve the Riverside County Metrolink Stations and increase the number of riders. Construction plans are expected to be finalized as early as 2022. In San Bernardino County, the I-10 Tune Up Pavement Rehabilitation Project is expected to be completed by the end of 2022 and will make essential repairs to the highway making the commute much safer.
Infrastructure projects like these are important to lowering commute times and keeping drivers safe on the road, but what happens when the construction site itself is a risk? The 91 Freeway Bridge Collapse is an example of how important it is to always maintain highway infrastructure as the Inland Empire continues to grow. In October 2015, the 91 freeway bridge collapsed during construction injuring several construction workers. Avrek Law Firm was able to win more than $17.3 Million for its clients who were injured.
Inland Empire Expected to Grow and Mature
Despite the frustration that many commuters have driving in gridlocked traffic between Los Angeles and their homes in San Bernardino and Riverside, California is expecting to grow an additional 30% by 2060. The majority of this population growth will be people over the age of 60, and both San Bernardino and Riverside expect their senior population to explode by more than 200% over the next 40 years.
How this population increase will impact both counties is yet to be determined. From a risk perspective, it’s safe to assume that an increase in population will result in an increase of traffic accidents. In 2018, San Bernardino exceeded both the state and national average of motor vehicle deaths, totaling 334 fatalities as a result of Inland Empire traffic accidents.
However, the aging demographic could be good news for commuters and for pedestrians. A large retirement population means less people making the daily drive to work. And, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA), seniors are among the safest drivers on the road. Although, even AAA found that seniors are outliving their ability to drive safely by seven to 10 years — increasing the risk of car and pedestrian accidents.
Be Represented by a Personal Injury Attorney in the Inland Empire
Have you suffered a personal injury while commuting? If you have questions about your legal options, Avrek Law is here to help. No matter if it’s a Riverside traffic accident or you need a San Bernardino pedestrian accident lawyer, there are legal options available to victims of car related accidents. The consultation is free and you’ll get expert advice from a law firm with more than $1 billion recovered in more than 45,000 cases. View one of our locations and contact Avrek Law for a free consultation. We want to hear more about your case!