Articles Posted in Pedestrian Injuries

Pedestrians always on the Phones and DangersCrossing any street in America could increase your risk of severe injury or death. In March 2017, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) released a report showing 2016 as the deadliest year in two decades for pedestrians in the US. Preliminary statistics reveal that nearly 6000 pedestrians nationwide lost their lives that year in traffic accidents, which is an increase of more than 11% from the previous year. This number is surprising because traffic deaths decreased 18% during the same period.

Safety and survivability on the nation’s roads, streets and highways have dramatically changed the landscape for drivers in America. However, this trend is not reflected in individuals outside the cars compared to passengers and drivers inside vehicles. In response, many large cities, including Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles have turned their attention to increasing traffic law enforcement and redesigning streets and intersections to create a safer environment for drivers, motorcycles, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

Walking Is Good for Health

Injuries from Distracted DrivingPedestrian fatality data is in for 2016 and it doesn’t look very good. The number of pedestrians killed in car accidents is rising much faster than the rate of motorist fatalities and the latest studies are attributing the rise in deaths to distracted driving. With the introduction of new mobile technologies both behind the wheel and handheld, more drivers than ever are being tempted to turn their attention from the road onto something else. Some may argue that the increased fatality rate is actually linked to lower gas prices and more cars on the road, but researchers believe the evidence points more solidly to distraction than all other factors.

Pedestrian Fatalities Have Climbed Eleven Percent

Last year, over 6,000 pedestrians were killed in collisions with automobiles. This represents the greatest number of pedestrian deaths in over twenty years. While it is true that an increased number of vehicles on the road and the inclination of drivers to drive more often while gas prices are low are possible contributing factors, no factor seems to have as great of an impact than distraction.

Safer Chicagoland PedestriansAn Eagle Scout Project completed last month in Orland Park was dedicated to the safety of the many local pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. The Life Scout, Joe Boyce took a page from similar initiatives around the world which have resulted in marked reductions in pedestrian accidents by making pedestrians more visible to those around them.

The Chicago pedestrian accident attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC work with numerous cases involving accidents where the driver didn’t see the pedestrian due to factors such as weather, distraction and lack of daylight. We are sure that this initiative is sure to save lives and believe that more communities should adopt similar programs.

Safety Initiative Using Intersection Flags

Handicapped PedestriansEvery pedestrian accident is dangerous and most result in serious injuries or the death of the pedestrian where the motorist in the vehicle escapes unharmed. National statistics reveal that every year approximately 5000 individuals lose their lives in pedestrian accidents and more than 75,000 suffer serious injuries.

A new study revealed that wheelchair pedestrians are at greater risk for suffering catastrophic injuries or losing their life if involved in an accident with a motor vehicle. Most catastrophic wheelchair pedestrian/vehicle accidents occur in crosswalks or along stretches of roadways where no crosswalk is available. The study also revealed the remarkable fact that in nearly four out of every five vehicle accidents involving wheelchair pedestrians, the motorist took no action to avoid the collision.

Many believe there are numerous factors involved in the disproportionate potential risk for wheelchair pedestrians compared to others traveling on foot and crossing roadways. One factor may be that it is often more difficult to notice an individual in a wheelchair because they are lower to the roadway or sidewalk. Another factor might be that when a crash occurs, the torso and head of the wheelchair user is more likely to be struck directly compared to a walking pedestrian being struck in the thighs and pelvis area. Finally, the increased risk of injury of a wheelchair user might be the result of their already compromised health making it more challenging to recover from serious trauma.

Deaths of Pedestrians in ChicagoAggressive and distracted driving have been contributing factors to an increase in the amount of pedestrian fatalities due to auto accidents in the City of Chicago. 46 pedestrians lost their lives in 2015 and many more were injured in accidents involving drivers that were speeding, texting and driving or acting in a reckless or aggressive manner on the roads. These figures are 31% higher than the same data for 2014 and contradicts the belief many have that the city has made substantial progress in improving the safety of city roads for pedestrians. While the enforcement of laws plays a role in deterring motorists from negligent behavior, it is ultimately the responsibility of drivers to do their part in preventing needless injuries and deaths.

The Presence of More Pedestrians Increases Risk

When attempting to determine what factors have had the most influence in the sharp increase in pedestrian fatalities, officials have noted that there has been an increase in pedestrian traffic throughout the city. Much of this can be attributed to the fact that more people are choosing to use public transportation measures such as buses and rail. The CTA served over 515 million passengers via its rail and bus services.

Fault in Pedestrian AccidentsMost people consider car accident lawsuits involving pedestrians being struck by a vehicle to be slam dunks, but this misconception is driven by common misunderstanding of the law and how comparative negligence works. There are numerous factors that need to be considered when determining fault in any accident and the amount of compensation that can be recovered is now impacted by whether the party with the least fault still contributed to the accident. Whether you were a pedestrian struck by a motorist or the driver who was involved in an accident with a pedestrian, there is still a burden of prove required in order to determine fault and this needs to be considered when building a case or creating a defense.

Ways that a Pedestrian can Cause an Accident

In most scenarios, pedestrians are given the right of way when occupying roads and motorists must be aware of their presence and take the precautions needed to avoid causing them any harm. This is not a license for pedestrians to break laws that govern when and how they are allowed to enter or cross streets, however, and it is possible for a pedestrian to be declared partially or completely at fault for a car accident. The following considerations are taken when trying to assess fault following an accident involving a motorist and a pedestrian.

Electric Cars Can be Dangerous to PedestriansPedestrians can easily hear the sound of a large motorcycle or diesel chugging commercial truck when passing close by. However, the same cannot be said for hybrid and battery-powered vehicles that barely make a whisper when moving. The decades of designing electrical cars and hybrids in an effort to reduce inside and outside noise has resulted in nearly silent transportation with maximum comfort from minimal noise.

Many potential car buyers seek out electric vehicles because of their numerous features including minimal noise, low running costs, a quiet drivetrain and their ability to help the planet. Electric car owners have remarked that the absence of noise while traveling tends to reduce stress levels and makes the driving experience on busy urban streets and rural areas far more enjoyable. Though automakers have created an environmentally-responsible appealing package, many manufacturers are now realizing that the quietness of electric vehicles are posing new potential risks on the roadway.

Missing Audible Indications

Most Dangerous Chicago IntersectionsWith dense neighborhoods, crowded downtown areas and busy historic districts, the Chicago Metropolitan area is a great place to walk to many destinations. However, the area is not without its pedestrian problems, where many individuals feel unsafe when crossing streets at crosswalks. Increased enforcement of many of the community’s traffic laws is essential for pedestrians, motorists and cyclists all sharing the road.

Advocates for a safer Chicago Metropolitan area are calling for significant improvements in the community’s street designs, especially at intersections. In addition, the advocates are hoping for better enforcement of existing traffic laws to minimize the potential pedestrian accident-related injuries and deaths on city streets.

Dangerous Intersections Abound In The Chicagoland Area

Pedestrian Safety for Road RulesSlimming four-way travel lanes down to three lanes is a diet every pedestrian and bicyclist can get behind. A road “diet” reconfiguration significantly increases pedestrian safety while adding beautiful landscape and wider sidewalks on many streets in the community. Redesigning the street can create bump outs to provide extra space, while significantly shortening the distance when a pedestrian crosses the street.

According to DOT Federal Highway Administration, changing traditional four-lane roadway configurations to three lanes is a significant improvement to public safety. The space accumulated by removing one lane can be reallocated for various other uses including street parking and/or pedestrian crossing islands and bike lanes.

Increasing Pedestrian Safety By Making Roads Narrower

Information from Pedestrian Accident DataFrom downtown out to the suburban neighborhoods, the design of the Chicago Metropolitan zones makes it conducive to pedestrian activity throughout the area. Walking to destinations tends to strengthen the local economy, provides accessibility to the workplace, and makes neighborhoods safer. However, Chicago’s recent pedestrian crash analysis report indicates that accidents involving pedestrians continues to be a significant problem in northeast Illinois.

Fortunately, pedestrian-related crashes involving serious injury have decreased in recent years. However, this number still totals in the hundreds of serious injuries every year. Nearly half of all injuries and fatalities involving pedestrians have happened on arterial streets in the community, mostly on four-lane roadways.

The Chicago Police Department (CPD), Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the City of Chicago are using the gathered information in the report to make significant changes to improve pedestrian safety. Steps taken in the past seem to be beneficial to the area from the neighborhood communities to the downtown business district.

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