Residents of DuPage County can be at risk of a pedestrian accident involving a distracted motorist almost anywhere, from a parking lot in Lombard to a crosswalk in downtown Chicago. Does it seem like you are hearing about more and more pedestrian accidents that result in serious and fatal injuries? According to a recent report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), pedestrian deaths have indeed increased recently. Since 2009, the rate of deadly pedestrian accidents has risen by 46 percent, and pedestrian crashes have become both deadlier and more frequent, according to the report.
While fatal pedestrian accidents are on the rise, the IIHS report suggests that there may be some solutions. Furthermore, curbing distracted walking behaviors can help to keep pedestrians focused so that they can avoid dangerous collisions with automobiles.
Increase in Deadly Pedestrian Accidents in Urban and Suburban Areas
As the IIHS report clarifies, the majority of pedestrian deaths—particularly the figures representing the starkly rising fatality rates—have been occurring largely in suburban or urban areas. Within urban and suburban areas, we can identify particular places where collisions are more likely to occur, as well as the time of day that is most dangerous to be on foot. Many deadly pedestrian accidents happen at non-intersections, as well as on arterials, which are roads designed primary to funnel vehicle traffic toward freeways. The increase in pedestrian accidents also has occurred largely during evening and nighttime hours once it gets dark. Finally, SUVs were disproportionately involved in the rising rate of pedestrian deaths in collisions.
The key points from the report are that the rate of pedestrian collisions increased between 2009 and 2016, and that those collisions grew deadlier. With regard to the crashes becoming deadlier, the report indicates that collisions involving SUVs increased by more than 80 percent. What are the possible solutions? Most immediately, researchers emphasize the need to redesign roads with pedestrians in mind. Given that many people are walking on arterials and crossing at nonintersections without crosswalks, cities need to devote more time and funding to improving pedestrian safety on those roads.
Solutions to Rising Pedestrian Accident Rates
Without more crosswalks and sidewalks, it is likely that pedestrian fatality rates will continue to rise. As the report explains, when individuals are required to walk long distances to a nearby signalized intersection, they are more likely to choose the riskier option of running across multiple lanes of traffic. In addition to crosswalks and sidewalks, installing curb extensions and median crossing islands can help to reduce pedestrian risks.
There are more solutions that do not involve changing the roads. The report suggests the following to reduce the rate of pedestrian deaths:
- Lower speed limits;
- Install more speed cameras to enforce speed limits;
- Install better street lighting;
- Improve crash prevention systems in motor vehicles; and
- Change the front-end design of SUVs and larger vans to help decrease the severity of injuries when they strike pedestrians.
In addition, pedestrians can learn more about distracted walking and can take steps to remain as alert as possible in the event that they can get out of the way of a distracted or drowsy driver.
Contact a DuPage County Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love was injured in a collision with a motor vehicle, a talented DuPage County pedestrian accident lawyer can speak with you about your options. Contact Mevorah Law Offices LLC today to discuss your case.