Cook County leads state in pedestrian fatalities

In 2013, 125 pedestrians died in Illinois and Cook County was the location of 53 of those fatalities.

Cook County residents have much to be proud about. When it comes to pedestrian safety, however, the region falls drastically short. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's 2013 records, 53 out of the state's total 125 pedestrian fatalities occurred in Cook County. That number is far more than any other county. Winnebago County had the second most number of pedestrian deaths in motor vehicle accidents with 11.

A closer look at the statistics

When looking at more detailed information from the NHTSA, it is clear that Cook County has struggled with pedestrian safety for some time. Further records show the following:

  • The 53 pedestrian deaths in 2013 were out of all 251 vehicular fatalities in the county.
  • In 2012, 79 out of 270 deaths in automobile accidents were pedestrians.
  • In 2011, 234 people died in vehicle crashes and 58 of those were pedestrians.
  • In 2010, pedestrians accounted for 52 out of the 236 automobile accident deaths.
  • In 2009, 264 vehicular deaths included 53 pedestrian deaths.

Other Illinois counties and cities have worked hard to improve pedestrian safety. The Chicago Tribune notes that Naperville has made a concerted effort that had reduced the number of pedestrian crashes in the past five years.

Recent news stories illustrate the risk

Pedestrian accidents can happen in a variety of situations. People on foot are at risk when walking or jogging for exercise as well as walking in a parking lot or crosswalk. Even tending to a disabled vehicle puts a person in the position of a pedestrian. Such was the case for a 66-year old man whose car battery died. While outside of his vehicle, the man was hit by a vehicle. The Chicago Tribune report indicated that he was smashed by the impact. He died not long after the impact at Stroger Hospital.

In another situation, a 21-year-old woman remains in a medically induced coma after being struck by a drunk driver. The coma is an attempt to address bleeding in her brain. The accident occurred just after she got off of a bus and began to cross a street in a designated crosswalk. The driver was a Chicago police officer who now faces felony charges for aggravated DUI with bodily injury.

A 57-year-old man was killed in a Skokie crosswalk in 2013. The driver was recently sentenced for misdemeanor charges of driving while under the influence of drugs as well as failing to yield the right of way to a pedestrian. Her sentence includes fines just below $1,900 and a two-year probation period.

What should victims do?

As noted above, pedestrian accidents can happen anywhere, anytime. Victims or their family members should always talk to a lawyer as promptly as possible after these tragic incidents.