A recent study released by the Chicago Department of Transportation seeks to help reduce the number of pedestrian-automobile accidents throughout the city. The study demonstrates that pedestrians are most at-risk at crosswalks and intersections, indicates peak times and locations for pedestrian accidents, and notes the prevalence of hit-and-run accidents within the city. The Department of Transportation hopes this information can be used to enact further pedestrian safety measures to make Chicago’s streets safer for individuals.
Large, densely populated cities like Chicago are inherently prone to pedestrian accidents. With a high volume of commuter traffic and large numbers of pedestrians, the potential for accidents is always present and their results can be devastating. Individuals struck by vehicles often suffer serious injuries and even death. Even low-speed accidents can result in catastrophic injuries. While an individual injured in such an accident may have the right to recover compensation for their injuries, it is necessary for both the safety of pedestrians and for the preservation of their legal rights that they exercise due care. The failure to exercise proper caution could undermine or even prevent a personal injury claim against a negligent driver.
Pedestrians are most vulnerable at crosswalks and intersections. Nearly 80% of all pedestrian accidents occur within 125 feet of an intersection. While following traffic signals such as “Walk/Don’t Walk” signs is a vital part of pedestrian safety, it is important for individuals to exercise caution even when obeying such signs. In fact, most accidents occur while a pedestrian is legally crossing an intersection with a signal. These accidents occur most frequently within Chicago’s often crowded business district, where traffic and commotion can distract drivers and prevent them from noticing crossing pedestrians. Not surprisingly, pedestrian accidents are most common during high volume commuter periods between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. and typically involve vehicles turning at intersections.
Under Illinois law, pedestrians injured by the negligent acts of drivers are entitled to compensation for their injuries. But recovery can often prove difficult – if not impossible – in hit-and-run cases where drivers flee the scene of an accident. According to the study, Chicago is exceptionally prone to such accidents. On average, two pedestrians are injured each day in hit-and-run accidents, accounting for one-third of all pedestrian accidents in the city. Even more alarming, hit-and-runs account for 40% of all pedestrian fatalities in Chicago, a rate double the national average.
Chicago already has a number of ongoing pedestrian safety programs that have contributed in an overall decrease in pedestrian injuries since 2005 and the city hopes the results of this study will enable it to take further strides toward making the city a safer place. While additional safety measures are likely to contribute to this goal, pedestrian awareness and caution is also necessary to prevent injury. With the devastating injuries that can result from pedestrian-automobile collisions and the prevalence of hit-and-run occurrences, it is always best to exercise caution and prevent injury in the first place.
Written By Sinas Dramis Law Firm