Pedestrian fatalities have reached their highest numbers in decades in San Diego County, with methamphetamine-related deaths and homicides also on the rise.
These findings were revealed in the San Diego County Medical Examiner's newly released 2016 Annual Report, county officials announced Thursday.
Out of 307 motor vehicle fatalities last year, the number of pedestrian fatalities went up to 101 cases, excluding two suicide pedestrian deaths, said county officials.
Another concerning trend is the rise in deaths caused by drugs and medications. In the past 15 years, meth deaths have increased more than 100 percent and remain the single largest cause of unintentional deaths due to drugs in the county, said county officials.
Methamphetamine death cases also reached the highest number in 16 years, with 240 cases in 2016, compared to only 62 cases in 2000.
The ME's Office investigates about 8,500 cases annually, out of the 19,000 to 21,000 deaths recorded in the county every year.
“These statistics closely follow trends reported in 2015,” said Dr. Glenn Wagner, the County’s Chief Medical Examiner, in a statement. “The report provides a view of recent death trends in San Diego County based on a subset of the total cases.”
There were 307 motor vehicle fatalities, 101 pedestrian fatalities and meth remained the single largest cause of unintentional deaths due to drugs. In the past 15 years, meth deaths have increased more than 100 percent, said county officials.
Alcohol was responsible for the second most cases of substance-related death with 106. Heroin overdoses were the third largest cause with 91 cases.
Out of the cases they investigated, 47 percent were accidental, 33 percent were natural deaths, 14 percent were suicides and a little more than four percent were homicides, said county officials. In nearly two percent of cases, the cause of death was undetermined.
Homicide rates have increased in San Diego County over the past three years.