As our Chicago pedestrian accident attorneys recently reported, pedestrian accidents are a growing concern for safety officials. Despite record-low numbers of traffic fatalities in 2010, the number of serious and fatal pedestrian accidents actually increased.
Transportation For America recently released a study that attempted to pin some of the blame on pedestrians — specifically the growing popularity of headphones.
The truth of the matter is that a vast majority of pedestrian accidents are the fault of the driver. Many components can contribute to these accidents, including drowsy driving, distracted driving, speeding and failing to obey traffic devices. Fatal pedestrian accidents caused by drivers are completely preventable.
Our Chicago pedestrian accident lawyers understand that traveling while engaging in distractions is never a good idea, whether you’re driving or walking. This is especially important along busy roadways, like the ones in our Chicago area. When traveling in these areas, you need all of your senses to travel safely. From 2000 to 2009, there were nearly 50,000 pedestrians who were killed while walking along U.S. roadways. But according to The University of Maryland, just 115 of these deaths were blamed on pedestrians wearing headphones. Driver distraction is much more likely to lead to serious or fatal pedestrian accidents.
You may remember the distracted pedestrian story from 2008 in which Barack Obama’s adviser, Valerie Jarrett, confessed that she fell off a Chicago curb while she was texting on her Blackberry.
“I didn’t see the sidewalk and I twisted my ankle,” said Jarrett. “It was a nice wake-up call for me to be a lot more careful in the future, because I clearly wasn’t paying attention and I should have.”
There are a number of ways to help reduce pedestrian accidents in Illinois. We need safer crosswalks. We need more driver awareness. Until we live in the “perfect” world with protected sidewalks for all, we’re asking for pedestrians to put their best foot forward in an attempt to help reduce the risks for an accident along our roadways and our sidewalks.
Pedestrian Safety Tips, from the City of Chicago:
-Always use a sidewalk or a path when one is available. If you have no other choice but to walk along the street, remember to do so while facing oncoming traffic so you and oncoming drivers can see one another. Just be sure to walk as far away from traffic as possible.
-Remember that other vehicles and standing objects can hinder a driver’s view. Make sure that you can see the driver before making any movements in the street.
-Make a plan to walk along routes that are clear of dangerous crossings.
-Make sure to look in all directions for oncoming traffic before crossing a street.
-Never rely on traffic signals.
-Keep a lookout for turning vehicles. In these instances, drivers are concentrated on making turns and not on pedestrian traffic. Look in all directions for these drivers as they come from all different directions. Always make sure that a turning driver sees you.
-Make sure that you understand the meanings of the crosswalk signals.
If you or someone in your family has been injured in an accident, the pedestrian accident lawyers and wrongful death attorneys at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.
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