Fatal pedestrian accidents remain a significant traffic safety concern, both in Illinois as well as nationally. On this site, various Will County pedestrian accidents that have caused injuries have been summarized in posts found under the “Pedestrian Accidents” category. As seen in those posts, a significant percentage of such accidents have resulted in fatalities.
Various aspects of pedestrian accidents remain worrisome. By their nature, pedestrian accident injuries are typically serious in nature, and often those who have been hit pass away from their accident injuries, either shortly after the accident or at a later time.
A broad range of injuries can occur during a pedestrian crash. Some injuries, such as scrapes and bruises, while painful, will likely heal over time. However, many other types of pedestrian accident injuries can have serious, lasting adverse health implications. Pain, suffering, and perhaps temporary or permanent disability can be caused by damage to the back and spinal column; legs and arms; thoracic region; and head. Various types of these injuries may not be readily apparent at the time of the crash – i.e. the symptoms might be “delayed onset” – as there are no symptoms (such as pain) from the afflicted areas right after the accident. Serious medical conditions, such as internal bleeding, soft-tissue damage, and head injuries (further discussed on the “Will County Accidents Involving Head Injuries“page) are injuries that may not be readily apparent immediately after the incident. This is one reason that it is recommended that someone who has been hit by a vehicle get a thorough medical examination, typically performed in a hospital emergency room (ER), as soon as possible after being injured.
Another worrisome aspect of fatal pedestrian accidents is that many of the people who have been fatally struck by vehicles in the metropolitan Chicago area were walking in crosswalks when they were hit.
Fatal pedestrian accidents have been increasing nationally. This trend is discussed in many sources, including the February 28, 2019 Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) news release titled “New Projection: 2018 Pedestrian Fatalities Highest Since 1990.”
As seen in the information provided, there are various reasons as to why fatal pedestrian accidents are increasing in frequency. An excerpt from the news release:
A number of trends offer insight into the many causes behind the rise in pedestrian fatalities:
- More walking has increased exposure, as one survey1 estimated that the number of Americans walking to work in the past week increased about four percent between 2007 and 2016;
- Most pedestrian fatalities take place on local roads, at night, away from intersections, suggesting the need for safer road crossings. Over the past 10 years, nighttime crashes accounted for more than 90 percent of the total increase in pedestrian deaths;
- Many unsafe driving behaviors, such as speeding, distracted and drowsy driving, pose risks to pedestrians, and alcohol impairment by the driver and/or pedestrian was reported in about half of traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian fatalities in 2017; and
- Finally, the number of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) involved in pedestrian deaths has increased by 50 percent since 2013. By comparison, (non-SUV) passenger cars’ involvement in pedestrian fatalities increased by 30 percent over the same time period. Although passenger cars still account for the majority of pedestrian deaths, SUVs – which generally cause more severe pedestrian injuries – make up an increasingly large percentage of registered vehicles.
With regard to distracted driving as a factor, this continues to be a substantial safety concern. Even a moment of driver distraction or other type of inattentiveness can result in a crash. The subject of distracted driving, including various statistics, is further discussed on the “Distracted Driving Accidents” page.
Another factor that is cited with regard to pedestrian accidents is “distracted walking.” While there are various reasons as to why someone walking may be “distracted,” texting and other cellphone usage is often a reason.
Additional discussion regarding fatal pedestrian accidents – including “what to do” if you have been hit by a car or other vehicle – can be seen on the “Will County Pedestrian Accidents And Injuries” page.