In the last week, California has seen a large number of fatal auto accidents:

On October 28, 2011, a motorcyclist lost control of his bike and ran into a semi truck on the San Diego (405) Freeway.

On October 29, 2011, there were two fatal car accidents in Southern California. The first accident was a car-and-truck accident on the 60 Freeway. In the second fatal accident, a car crashed into a pole, killing at least two people.

The following day, a closed traffic lanes on Interstate 680, and on November 1, 2011, a car fatally struck a pedestrian on the 134 Freeway.

These are just a sampling of the recent tragedies on California's roads.

California Fatal Car Accident Statistics

While the number of California fatal car accidents has declined over the years, there are still more than 3,000 traffic fatalities each year. Approximately one third of these fatal accidents are alcohol-related (many caused by drunk drivers). Speeding also plays a role in one third of the accidents.

In Riverside County, car accidents led to 224 traffic fatalities in 2009, making it the fourth most dangerous county in California, behind Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County and San Diego County.

Of course, the numbers don't tell the whole story. Behind these California fatal car accidents are grieving families facing unrelenting financial difficulties and significant life changes. These families need everyone's support. They also want to know that what happened to their loved ones will not happen to someone else. It is up to all of us to prevent fatal car accidents by putting down distractions, finding a sober cab, going the speed limit and otherwise driving safely.

Source: NHTSA, "Traffic Safety Facts California 2005-2009."