In Illinois, traffic can take many forms. Cars, trucks, SUVS, and vans are common on our roadways but they are far from the only types of traffic in the state. Bicyclists, motorcyclists, and even pedestrians can all be traffic and can affect the road conditions of those around them.
Unfortunately, this means that no one is safe from the threat posed by a traffic accident or a collision as these incidents can happen with little or even no warning. Often, an innocent party is involved in a crash when another person makes a mistake or an error, causing someone who did nothing wrong to suffer nonetheless. This is a common tale when a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle in Chicago or the surrounding suburbs and may lead to the need for emergency medical treatment.
But why do so many pedestrians find themselves the victims of collisions, and what can be done to reduce those crashes? According to experts, eliminating distractions among drivers and pedestrians alike may do much to protect public safety and improve the driving and walking conditions for all.
In 2014, the Illinois Department of Transportation determined that 1.6 percent of all traffic accidents involved pedestrians but that pedestrians accounted for 6.8 percent of all traffic injuries and 14.4 percent of all traffic-related deaths that year. While pedestrian accidents may be less common than other forms of collisions, the harm they cause to those involved is likely to be greater as they are disproportionately to blame for both injuries and deaths in our state; therefore, pedestrian safety is an issue that should concern all.
As technology has progressed, it has invaded every aspect of our daily lives. Cars today are more advanced than computers were mere decades ago and most Chicago residents carry cell phones that are capable of surfing the internet, streaming video, and even providing GPS services. As technology continues to become more common on the roadways and in the hands of walkers, it has led to distraction among these groups of travelers and is being blamed for a number of collisions between cars and pedestrians annually. These younger “millennial drivers” have been found to be more prone to distracted driving and, therefore, are involved in more motor vehicle collisions.
Experts opine that the constant presence of technology is leading drivers to take their eyes off the road to place them on things that seem more enticing. Often, this means a cell phone but reports have also revealed that in-dash technology, portable DVD players and laptops, tablets, and even some other streaming devices are often stealing attention from drivers who are behind the wheel. This in turn decreases the attention paid to the roadway and therefore limits a driver’s ability to react, increasing the time that driver will need to slow or stop her car.
Simultaneously, more and more pedestrians are carrying cell phones and using them while they walk in Chicago. After all, there are no laws preventing such conduct and the idea of a distracted walker is not one that makes waves with the populace at large. Assuming they are safe, these pedestrians then approach intersections in the Loop and begin to cross them when it may or may not be safe to do so.
When combined, a distracted driver and a distracted pedestrian can make a deadly combo, resulting in a crash between those individuals and causing injuries to at least the walker in more than 90 percent of all Illinois pedestrian collisions.
The concept for safety may be easy to understand and to reiterate but can be more challenging to implicate. However, if you want to be secure in your movements in the city and you also want to limit the risk you pose to others, do not drive while distracted and do not walk while preoccupied with other tasks. Instead, do your best to focus on the roadway, crosswalk, and/or traffic conditions and proceed with the care necessary to keep you protected.
It is imperative to realize that your actions affect those around you in addition to your own personal safety, whether you drive, ride a bus, walk, or take a train. Do your best to ignore common distractions while you are moving and instead focus on the roadway or the path ahead, making sure you put safety as your primary motivator. You can pick up the distractions again once you make it safely to your destination.
Prior Blog Entry:
Know Before you Buy: Car Insurance, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published April 4, 2016.