Since December of 2018 there have been four fatal pedestrian car accidents in Niles, Illinois. The most recent of these fatal car accidents occurred in April of 2019. A 61-year-old woman was crossing a busy street in Niles when she was struck by a Mercedes SUV. Sadly, the woman was just steps away from her home when she was hit. According to police, the woman was not walking in a designated crosswalk and the driver that struck her had a green light.
The other incidents involving fatal car accidents in Niles were remarkably similar. In each fatal car accident, the drivers were not charged or cited in connection with the accident. A fifth fatality involving a pedestrian occurred in nearby Morton Grove on January 4th. The driver of that car fled the auto accident scene and was not apprehended. If this sounds like an auto incident you’ve been in, I urge you to contact one of our personal injury attorneys which specialists in car accidents to assist you with how to handle your situation.
Quick Facts: How Many Fatal Car Accidents Involving Pedestrians Occur Each Year?
- In 2016, 5,987 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the U.S. That number slightly decreased in 2017 to 5,977 deaths.
- In 2015, approximately 129,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency departments for car accident related injuries
- Older pedestrians are significantly more at risk: pedestrians over 65 accounted from 20% of all pedestrian deaths in 2016
- In nearly half of fatal car accidents involving pedestrians either the driver or pedestrian were under the influence of alcohol
Other facts are not altogether surprising. Higher vehicle speeds increase both the risk of a pedestrian being struck in a fatal crash and the severity of the injury. Moreover, more pedestrian deaths occur at night in urban areas at non-intersection locations. Thus, the accidents that occurred in Niles are consistent with the statistics – elderly pedestrians crossing busy streets at night at non-intersection locations.
Given the string of devastating fatal car accidents in Niles, I believe it prudent to review important safety tips for both pedestrians and drivers to avoid future devastating auto accidents that are life threatening.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians
As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) points out, regardless of your common means of transportation, we all are pedestrians at one time or another. We learned the basics of crossing the street as children. Yet, the majority of pedestrian car accidents do not involve children. Perhaps we have all grown complacent over time. Or maybe the distractions of modern technology have contributed to this sobering statistic – on average, a pedestrian is killed every 88 minutes in a traffic crash. Many of these pointless deaths can be avoided by adhering to basic safety tips. The NHTSA recommends the following safety tips for pedestrian safety:
- Adhere to road signs and signals.
- Cross at intersections where there are both walkways and signals. Drivers are more likely to expect pedestrians in these areas. If there are no intersections or walkways, find a well-lit area to cross. Wait for a sufficient gap in traffic to allow you enough time to cross. While crossing continue looking for oncoming traffic.
- If possible, walk on sidewalks. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic and as far away from traffic as possible.
- Remain alert. Avoid using your cell phone while walking.
- Make eye contact with drivers. Do not assume the driver sees you. Much like pedestrians are distracted by cell phone use, texting or talking while driving is unfortunately common.
- Wear bright clothing during the day. Wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night. If you expect to go out plan accordingly.
- Avoid the use of alcohol or drugs.
- Exercise increased caution near driveways and in parking lots. Drivers backing up are less likely to see pedestrians.
Safety Tips for Drivers
Likewise, the NHTSA recommends the following safety tips for drivers:
- Always look for pedestrians.
- Exercise increased caution in driving conditions with poor visibility (i.e., bad weather or at night).
- Slow down at crosswalks. Be prepared to stop when making a turn or entering a crosswalk area.
- Always yield to pedestrians. Stop a good distance away from crosswalks to give other drivers a chance to see crossing pedestrians.
- Do not attempt to pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks. Rather, come to a stop and proceed once the area is clear.
- Do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Obey the speed limit, particularly in dense areas.
- Use reduced speeds in school zones and neighborhoods where children may be at play.
- Use extra caution when backing up. Don’t rely solely on your backup camera, scan all areas to look for nearby pedestrians.
Did you Experience an Injury in an Auto Accident in Niles?
Unfortunately, even if you have followed all of the above tips and acted safely, there is always a chance of pedestrian car accidents and personal injury in these situations. If you have struck a pedestrian, observe a pedestrian struck by another driver or are a pedestrian and are struck, you should follow these safety tips:
- Stop your vehicle. Not only should you assist the injured pedestrian, but if you struck the pedestrian the law mandates that you stop.
- Determine if the injured pedestrian needs medical attention. If you lack any medical or first aid training, render basic aid. Apply pressure to wounds and give CPR if you are able. Call 911 or ask another person at the scene of the accident to call.
- If the pedestrian is not injured or refuses medical treatment, exchange contact and insurance information as you would following any accident.
- Cooperate with law enforcement. If the police show up to the scene of the accident, answer questions the best you can. Do not admit guilt. Likewise, if you are the injured pedestrian, give your version of the events. Avoid giving too many details regarding the accident.
- Take photographs of the scene and get the names and contact information for any witnesses. Photograph the surrounding area including important traffic signals and signs. Record any damage to the vehicle. If you are a pedestrian riding a bicycle, photograph any damage to the bike.
- If you are not seriously injured receive follow-up medical treatment as needed.
- Contact your insurance company to notify them of the accident.
- Consult with an experienced car accident lawyer to discuss your rights.
Let Our Attorneys Serve You
The string of fatal car accidents in Niles over the past few months have been devastating losses for the community. It is important that we exercise caution and abide by safety guidelines to minimize pedestrian car accidents. If you or someone you know has been involved in a pedestrian car accident, contact us to discuss your rights.