Increased Homelessness Causing Motor Vehicle Accidents in Los Angeles

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Los Angeles, a city renowned for its glitz and glamour, has been grappling with a growing homelessness crisis. This issue, while heart-wrenching in itself, has exposed a rather unexpected consequence: a sharp increase in Los Angeles motor vehicle accidents.

A Growing Crisis

Homelessness in Los Angeles has been on the rise for several years now. According to a report from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (2023), the number of people experiencing homelessness in the city rose by 9% last year alone. Temporary shelters and makeshift encampments have sprung up in several parts of the city, even on freeway embankments and sidewalks.

The Link Between Homelessness and Road Hazards

The rise in homelessness has led to an increase in motor vehicle hazards in some surprising ways. An article in the LA Times even stated how the heat could help with the presence of tents and temporary shelters near busy roads which created blind spots for drivers, leading to more accidents. Furthermore, pedestrian incidents involving individuals experiencing homelessness have increased by 15% in the past two years according to a New York Times article.

Another aspect contributing to the road hazards is the desperate attempts by some homeless individuals to seek shelter in abandoned vehicles. A report by KTLA News (2022) highlighted that these vehicles often lack proper registration and safety features, posing risks to both the occupants and other road users.


Policy Response and Community Action

The city and state governments have recognized the dual crises of homelessness and related traffic dangers. Mayor Karen Bass has pledged $150 million towards providing more shelters and improving road safety around encampments 

Several non-profit organizations like Shelter LA have been working tirelessly to provide immediate shelter to those in need and are collaborating with the city to ensure safer roads for everyone. As John Miller, the CEO of Shelter LA, puts it, “We can’t just treat the symptoms; we must address the root causes. Safe housing and safe streets go hand in hand” (interview with CBS Los Angeles, 2022).

A Call to Action

The intersections of homelessness and vehicle hazards in Los Angeles are a complex issue that requires multi-faceted solutions. While the city’s initiatives are a step in the right direction, experts stress the need for more comprehensive policies that not only provide immediate shelter but also address underlying issues such as mental health, unemployment, and addiction.

In a recent op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, urban planner Dr. Susan Wright argues that a multi-disciplinary approach involving urban planning, social work, healthcare, and law enforcement is essential to truly address the issue.


The problem of homelessness causing motor vehicle hazards in Los Angeles is a stark reminder that social issues are often intertwined in unexpected ways. Addressing this requires empathy, innovation, and a commitment to understanding the complexity of human lives.

The streets of despair must become streets of hope, and the intersection of homelessness and vehicle hazards must become a crossroad leading to a safer and more compassionate Los Angeles.

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John Miller

John Miller is a cars enthusiast who loves writing anything related to automobiles. He is a passionate blogger writing for and other auto blogs