The close of the year gives rise to some interesting statistics and facts, as the media compares data with recent previous years. From gathering such data, we can learn about many trends in our communities, state, and across the nation ranging from weather, societal preferences and fashions, and safety related to traffic. Unfortunately, these studies do not always yield positive findings, but do indicate areas in which we all need to improve collectively and can suggest ways in which to do so.
According to a recent data by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and analyzed by the Wall Street Journal, pedestrian deaths overall have increased by 15% since 2009. In 2013, there were 4,735 pedestrian deaths nationwide, according to data released by the NHTSA this month. Overall, there were 32,719 traffic deaths in the country.
In many major metropolitan cities, officials are taking steps to try to battle this rising statistic, according to the same article. Some of these initiatives include shortening crosswalks, creating pedestrian safety islands, lower speed limits, creating bike lanes, and getting harsher with enforcement of rules. Transportation officials realize they may need to analyze current urban landscapes to make them safer for pedestrians. These efforts are also supported by the national government, which granted $1.6 million to various cities to promote pedestrian safety. The National Association of City Transportation Officials has recognized that many city streets were not designed with pedestrians in mind, only automobiles, and that needs a change.
The article also discusses how some drivers are not used to sharing the road with pedestrians and bicyclists, which have increased in number in recent years. Other drivers aren’t so much naïve as to how to share the road or to the presence of pedestrians as cyclists, but are entitled. Many drivers feel the roads are no place for pedestrians and bicyclists but is solely for vehicles and refuse to respect others on the roads. However, many city officials hope that all of the steps they are taking to increase pedestrian safety will eventually lead drivers to slow down and accept these rules. There are hopes that pedestrian laws will become second nature, just as seat belt laws have.
Furthermore, the article discusses how Chicago has taken steps to protect pedestrians with a goal to reduce traffic deaths to zero in 10 years’ time. Chicago has posted speed cameras throughout the city and plans on adding countdown clocks to crosswalks, speed humps, and concrete bump-outs to shorten crosswalks. These are all part of a plan to make a broad shift to focus on pedestrian safety.
Our lawyers understand the pedestrian safety is an important issue, and we support city initiatives to increase safety. Pedestrian accidents are extremely serious, and often result in serious personal injuries or death. Despite rules to share the road with pedestrians and bicyclists, some drivers still continue to act negligently or recklessly. If you or a loved one has been injured in an Illinois pedestrian accident, we would be happy to discuss your situation with you in a free consultation. Call us today, and we may be able to provide you with the legal help you need.