New Research Shows a Significant Number of Illinois Pedestrians are Involved in Accidents Resulting in Serious Bodily Harm or Death

August 22, 2011

1340621_green_man.jpgRecently the Chicago Tribune reported that an exceptionally high number of vehicle-pedestrian crashes occurred while the pedestrian was in the crosswalk. This study was one of the most detailed crash analyses ever conducted in our area, and it revealed that Illinois pedestrians are extremely vulnerable to serious accidents that could result in serious injuries or death.

Researchers found that over 18,000 Illinois pedestrians were hit by a motor vehicle from 2005 through 2009. Nearly 80 percent of all serious or fatal crashes happened at crosswalks within 125 feet from the midpoint of an intersection. Although Illinois law requires that drivers stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, it is obvious to our Illinois accident attorneys that this law is being ignored far too often, resulting in tragic consequences.

One of the most troubling aspects of crashes involving pedestrians is that pedestrians are more vulnerable to serious injuries because they are not protected by the shield of a car. Pedestrian-vehicle accidents frequently result in catastrophic injuries and substantial medical expenses. Broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord paralysis are all common injuries arising from pedestrian accidents.

Some areas of the state appear to be more dangerous than others, and several Chicago neighborhoods are known to be particularly high risk. The report indicates that the highest number of pedestrian crashes occurred in an area extending from the Loop and near North Side to Austin Street, and most of them involved young pedestrian victims ranging from 15 to 18 years of age. One possible explanation for the high rate of teen pedestrian accidents is that young people are less likely to use crosswalks, making them even more vulnerable to dangerous and reckless drivers.

The study also found that the number of hit-and-run accidents happening on city streets is on the rise. On August 10, 2011, a hit-and-run accident left a 9-year-old Chicago girl with serious injuries. According to the Chicago Department of Transportation, on average, at least two hit-and-run crashes happen every day in Chicago. This is double the national average for hit-and-run accidents. Again, the consequences of these crashes are very serious. Approximately 41 percent of all hit-and-runs are fatal.

Although all Illinois drivers need to use caution on the roadways, taxi drivers need to be especially careful given the large number of pedestrians that they encounter on a day-to-day basis. Chicago cab drivers are responsible for about 28 percent of all pedestrian crashes. A recent taxi cab-pedestrian accident on August 7, 2011, left two children with injuries after they were hit by a cab driver while crossing North Michigan Avenue.

Failure to yield is the number one cause of pedestrian crashes, but accidents can happen for many reasons. Distracted driving or driving under the influence also accounts for a large number of pedestrian-vehicle crashes. In some cases, an unmarked crosswalk may be to blame. Many pedestrian-vehicle crashes are preventable, and both vehicle drivers and pedestrians need to take responsibility in order to avoid an accident that causes serious injuries or death.

Our Illinois pedestrian accident attorneys are familiar with the extensive medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering that typically result following accidents involving pedestrians. We have worked with numerous hit-and-run victims and their families to help them gain maximum compensation for their injuries. As the latest statistics show, pedestrian-vehicle crashes are happening far too frequently in our area, and negligent drivers need to be held responsible in order to avoid further harm. Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable to serious bodily injuries and death, and immediate action should be taken against drivers who recklessly ignore traffic safety laws and cause serious harm.