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Good news in Illinois for pedestrians, but more change is needed

According to a recent report, Illinois drivers did a better in job in 2019 when it came to avoiding fatal pedestrian accidents.

Preliminary estimates suggest that in 2019, 61 pedestrians lost their lives on Illinois roads after getting struck by a motor vehicle. In 2018, 75 people died.

Illinois was one of a handful of states that could boast of a double-digit decline in both the number of deaths from pedestrian accidents as well as in the percent change in the number of deaths year to year. Between 2018 and 2019, pedestrian deaths in Illinois declined by 18%.

Unfortunately, the news for pedestrians was not so good across the nation. The Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that 6,590 pedestrians died in vehicle-on-pedestrian accidents in 2019, an increase of 5% over 2018.

This figures also continues the dismal record of pedestrian accidents in recent years. Over the last 10 years, the number fatalities due to pedestrian accidents has increased by 150%. If this trend continues, nearly 1 out of 5 of all traffic fatalities will involve a pedestrian.

As it stands, the number of pedestrians dying on America’s roads at its highest since the late 1980s, despite all kinds of improvements in traffic safety and technology.

In other words, although Illinois may be taking the right steps toward turning back this tragic trend, more work needs to be done.

Pedestrian accidents happen for many reasons. In many cases, the driver of a vehicle is not paying attention and just simply does not notice the pedestrian, even if he or she is in a marked crosswalk.

Frequently, the driver is distracted by his or her phone, other technology or even the kids in the back of his or her SUV. No matter the source of the distraction, drivers always have a duty to look out for pedestrians and to pay full attention to the road.

On a related pointed, drivers often hit pedestrians when they are too drowsy to operate a vehicle safely. Despite all the stresses in modern life, motorists still need to make sure they have enough rest to concentrate on the road and make quick judgments. If they don’t have enough rest, they need to wait before driving.

Unfortunately, despite all the warnings against drunk driving, many fatal pedestrian accidents happen when a driver is under the influence.

Injured pedestrians, or the families of those who get killed in pedestrian accidents, are going to need financial help in addition to emotional support. They will often have hefty medical bills and, in a fatality, the cost of a funeral.

The risk of severe injuries like brain injuries and spinal cord injuries is high in the case of pedestrian accidents, simply because of the weight difference between a car and a human being. These sorts of injuries will require ongoing medical and personal care, which means more bills.

If the pedestrian was a wage-earner, then the family will also have to come up with another way to make ends meet.

Getting financial help after a pedestrian accident can be difficult. Even when the negligence of the driver is clear, many will struggle to get an insurance company to pay the compensation they deserve.