Report: Pedestrian deaths on the rise in Illinois

The number of fatal pedestrian accidents in Illinois and across the country is increasing, according to recent reports.

In a collision between a vehicle and a person, it goes without saying that the individual will bear the brunt of the impact. In Illinois and across the country, these pedestrian accidents happen at an alarming rate.

According to a recent report from Fox 32 Chicago, motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians are actually on the rise. Understanding what causes these incidents is key to preventing them.

By the numbers

Fox 32 notes that nationwide, the number of fatal accidents affecting pedestrians has risen. In the year 2014, there were 4,884 people who lost their lives as the result of a crash with a vehicle. That is the highest number of pedestrian fatalities since 2005, the report states. Federal data indicates that the last nine months of 2015 point to a 9 percent jump over 2014's numbers.

In Illinois, there has also been a concerning increase. In 2014, there were 127 such fatalities. Last year, there were 150.

Risk factors

There are a number of factors that can increase the likelihood that someone may be involved in a fatal pedestrian accident. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that 49 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents involved alcohol, either from the pedestrian or driver perspective. In addition to drunk driving, the following could play a role:

  • The CDC states that the elderly and children are at an increased risk.
  • Most fatalities take place at night and in urban areas.
  • Cars that are speeding are at an increased risk of striking someone.

Distracted driving is also a serious threat, as it takes the driver's focus off the road and any pedestrian in the surrounding areas.

Preventing accidents

Motorists must do their part to keep the road as safe as possible. Avoiding alcohol and any distractions are necessary. In highly populated areas, drivers should be on alert both at intersections and elsewhere to ensure that no one is trying to cross the road.

Pedestrians can also prevent accidents by making themselves more visible. If walking at night, people are urged to wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight. Pedestrians should always use an intersection or other designated crosswalk when moving across traffic. Headphones are inadvisable, because they may drown out the sound of an oncoming vehicle.

Lastly, people who walk along the road should use a sidewalk whenever possible. If a sidewalk is not available, experts recommend walking along the shoulder in a direction that faces traffic. This enables someone to see approaching cars.

Unfortunately, until drivers avoid risky behaviors, pedestrian accidents will continue to occur. Anyone who has questions about this topic should consult with a personal injury attorney in Illinois.