Bad News for Chicago Area Traffic Deaths: 2020 Fatal Car Accident Review

The Chicago area has lost 291 people due to traffic deaths so far this year, according to Illinois Department of Transportation (DOT) statistics. If you lost a family member in a fatal accident, Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. might be able to help your family obtain compensation for the losses you’ve suffered while holding the responsible party accountable for their actions. Call us today at (312) 236-2900 or use our online contact form to reach out.

Mid-Year Review of Fatal Accidents

Last year in Chicago and its surrounding counties, 482 people were killed in vehicle-related accidents. Up through late August, the total is 291. The Chicago area accounts for nearly half of the state’s traffic fatalities so far this year (291 of 638).

Pedestrians are most at risk with 92 of this year’s documented traffic deaths, followed by motorcyclists (82), and those involved in accidents with tractor-trailers (71). The DOT reports that most of the state’s fatal collisions are on city streets (226), followed by US routes (180).

Given the high numbers of pedestrian deaths and fatalities that happened on city streets, when you’re a pedestrian walking next to or over an area street, don’t take your safety for granted. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that per trip, pedestrians are 150% more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to be killed in an accident.

Pedestrians Need to Take Steps to Prevent Accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that in 2018 6,283 pedestrians were killed in accidents involving vehicles. The agency offers these safety tips:

  • Obey the rules of the road, signs, and signals
  • Walk on sidewalks whenever possible
  • If there are none, walk facing traffic and as far from it as you can
  • Be alert. Don’t be distracted by electronic devices
  • Look for cars from all directions then cross streets at crosswalks or intersections
  • If there is no crosswalk or intersection, cross where there’s a good view of traffic. Don’t cross until there’s a long enough gap in traffic to give you enough time to cross safely. Watch for traffic while you cross
  • Don’t assume drivers see you. Make eye contact with them as they approach to ensure you are seen
  • Be visible. Wear bright clothing during the day, wear reflective materials and or use a flashlight when it’s dark
  • Beware of vehicles coming into or leaving driveways and those backing up in parking lots.
  • Don’t walk while intoxicated. Your abilities and judgment will be impaired

The CDC states the most dangerous situations for pedestrians include:

  • Nearly half (47%) of fatal pedestrian accidents involved alcohol for the driver and or the pedestrian in 2017
  • That year a third of fatal pedestrian accidents involved pedestrians whose blood alcohol level was more than what’s permitted for driving
  • 17% of fatal pedestrian accidents had vehicle drivers who were drunk or impaired
  • Those 65 and older were 20% of all pedestrian deaths and 10% of all pedestrian injuries in 2017
  • 20% of pedestrians killed in 2017 were younger than 15
  • Higher speeds increase the chances of a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle and the severity of an injury
  • Most pedestrian deaths happen in urban areas, away from intersections, at night

Big Vehicles + High Speeds + Poor Road Design = Huge Increase in Pedestrian Deaths

It’s not just drivers who are a danger to pedestrians. What they drive may make a fatal accident with a pedestrian more likely. Research shows the popularity of large SUV’s and pickup trucks is a reason there’s been a massive increase in accidental pedestrian and bicyclist deaths across the US since 2009, according to a Las Vegas Sun editorial.

These vehicles are heavier than passenger cars, take longer to stop, and have blunt front ends which may knock a pedestrian into an oncoming traffic lane where he or she could be hit by another vehicle. With higher weight comes greater force striking a pedestrian, increasing the chances of serious injuries or deaths. NHTSA reported in 2015 that pedestrians are two to three times more likely to be killed after being struck by an SUV or pickup than a car.

Erin Breen, a traffic safety researcher at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, stated the city police’s fatality reports show about half of deadly pedestrian accidents involved SUVs or pickups. Breen states the increased numbers of these vehicles is a top factor behind Las Vegas pedestrian fatalities, along with poor road design and high speed limits.

Preliminary statistics from the Governors Highway Safety Administration show there were 6,590 pedestrian fatalities in 2019, the highest number in 30 years, and a 60% increase in pedestrian deaths since 2009. Fatalities from all other accidents increased by 2% from 2009 to 2018.

Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. Can Help You With a Wrongful Death Claim

If you lost a family member in a vehicle accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. It may provide you with compensation and could bring accountability to the party who caused the accident. We’re ready to fight for you, be your ally, and start right now. We will discuss your case with you, talk about how Illinois law may apply, and your best options moving forward. Don’t waste time. Contact our law offices for a free consultation. Call us at (312) 236-2900 or fill out our online contact form today.