When you head out on foot, you probably don’t give a whole bunch of thought to your safety. After all, you’re not getting behind the wheel of a speeding vehicle – you’re simply taking a walk down the street. As a pedestrian, however, you’re especially vulnerable to the vehicles all around you. When you’re on foot, there’s absolutely nothing to protect you from the impact of an accident. As our roads become more and more crowded and as more and more drivers succumb to driving while distracted, pedestrians face ever more dangers. When you’re hoofing it, always make safety your top priority.
Pedestrian Accidents: The Statistics
Pedestrian accidents happen, and the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center reports some sobering statistics related to these incidents:
- Between the years of 2006 and 2015, the number of pedestrians injured in motor vehicle accidents rose from 61,000 to 70,000 (an increase of almost 15 percent).
- In 2015, there were more than 5,000 pedestrian fatalities (caused by motor vehicle accidents), which is the largest number of such fatalities since 1996.
- Although total traffic fatalities decreased by nearly 18 percent in the years from 2006 to 2015, pedestrian fatalities rose by 12 percent.
In other words, pedestrian accidents are on the rise, and distracted drivers play a significant role in this trend.
It’s established that, as a pedestrian, you’re vulnerable to accidents. If you’ve been injured because of a distracted driver’s negligence, you need legal counsel. These claims are complicated, but your rights and your rightful compensation matter. The dedicated legal team at the Law Offices of Abels and Annes is committed to helping you recover the compensation to which you are entitled.
Because distracted driving has become such a momentous problem, the U.S. government has created an entire website that’s devoted to the issue, distraction.gov. Distracted driving is defined as any driving in which the driver’s attention is focused on something other than the all-important task of driving safely. The distractions themselves are divided into three primary classifications:
- Distractions that are manual, such as holding your phone in your hand;
- Distractions that are visual, such as looking at your phone; and
- Distractions that are cognitive, such as reading a text on your phone.
Smartphones, in other words, represent the mother lode when it comes to distractions. When you engage with your smartphone, you employ your eyes, your hands, and your thought processes. When you’re driving, your eyes, your hands, and your thought processes should all be trained on driving safely.
Distracted Driving: The Statistics
Distracted driving is dangerous driving, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shares some startling statistics related to this dangerous practice:
- Nine people are killed and a thousand more are injured in accidents caused by distracted drivers in the United States every day.
- When a driver travels at 55 mph while interacting with his or her smartphone, that driver is driving blind for at least 5 seconds, which is enough time to travel the length of a football field.
- The reports from the Illinois State Police further clarify the dangers of distracted driving:
- Drivers who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident;
- Drivers who dial and drive are 3 times more likely to be involved in an accident; and
- Drivers who chat on their phones while driving are nearly 30 percent more likely to be involved in an accident.
As these statistics testify, pedestrians beware!
Staying Safe Out There
- Look alive when you take to Chicago’s streets on foot – stay alert to the traffic all around you and always follow all posted pedestrian signs, signals, and warnings;
- Always cross at marked crosswalks (or other designated pedestrian walkways) whenever they are available;
- Remember that crossing with a group – because it’s easier for oncoming traffic to see – is safer than crossing solo;
- Wear comfortable, supportive, non-slip footwear to help ensure that you can move swiftly to the other side of the street;
- If you must walk after dark, always incorporate a prominent piece of reflective clothing into your attire; and
- Don’t walk under the influence of distraction – as a pedestrian you play an important role in keeping yourself safe, and your focus should always be on arriving safely at your destination and not on your smartphone or any other distraction.
As a pedestrian, you are especially vulnerable to serious injury in any accident involving a motor vehicle. Always make the safest choices available to you.
Drivers’ Duty of Care
In Illinois, drivers owe a duty of care to pedestrians, which includes exercising due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian. This does not, however, mean that pedestrians have a free pass to enter any crosswalk whenever they so choose. The law explicitly states that pedestrians can’t suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a moving vehicle. As a pedestrian, the best way to stay safe is to always follow the rules of the road – remember that distracted drivers are out there and that they’re dangerous.
If You’ve Been Injured by a Distracted Driver, Consult with a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Pedestrians are extremely vulnerable to serious injuries in accidents involving motor vehicles. If a distracted driver has caused you to be so injured, it can be extremely difficult and upsetting. Drivers owe pedestrians a duty of care, after all, and distracted drivers eschew this important responsibility. The legal team at the Law Firm of Abels & Annes understands how difficult your situation is, and we’re here to help. Your rights and your rightful compensation are important, so please contact or call our office at 312-924-7575 for a free consultation today.