There is a growing crisis in the United States related to pedestrian accidents, and Illinois is no exception. Each year, it seems that the number of pedestrians killed or injured on the roadways has increased significantly.
Pedestrian accident statistics
Nationwide, there were over 6,200 pedestrian accidents in 2018 that resulted in fatalities, up 46% from 2010. In Illinois, a report created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 1.6% of all Chicago crashes in 2018 involved pedestrians and that there were 165 pedestrians killed in traffic accidents that year. Of the almost 3,000 pedestrians injured in accidents, 555 suffered serious injuries.
Causes of pedestrian accidents
There are many reasons why pedestrian accidents are on the rise. Many vehicle drivers are unaware that a pedestrian does not have to cross at a crosswalk and that any intersection is a legal crossing location. In most states, a pedestrian crossing the road has the right-of-way, yet drivers often fail to stop and give them the right-of-way.
Larger vehicles on the roads are another reason more pedestrians are dying in crashes. The design of larger vehicles, like SUVs, leads to a pedestrian being struck in the torso where more significant damage can occur while smaller cars strike pedestrians in the legs. Distracted driving is also a factor in many pedestrian accidents.
Laws related to pedestrians
In Illinois, a car is required to come to a complete stop when a pedestrian is in a marked crosswalk or when children are in a school-zone crosswalk. A driver must yield to pedestrians in unmarked crosswalks; when turning at an intersection, whether at a stop sign or red light; and if the pedestrian enters the crosswalk before the light changes. In addition, a driver must yield when a pedestrian enters an intersection with a flashing yellow arrow or from an alley, private road or driveway.
However, drivers are not the only ones who must follow specific laws. Pedestrians must obey all traffic signals and may not run into the path of a moving vehicle. When crossing at a location other than an intersection, pedestrians must yield to drivers and should not walk on the road unless there is no shoulder. If this is the case, pedestrians should walk facing oncoming traffic. Failure to adhere to any of these laws could result in a pedestrian accident.
If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, whether you were the pedestrian or the driver, contact an attorney for help. They will be able to guide you through what comes next.