Deadly Consequences of Dangerous Driving: Increase in Pedestrian Fatalities and Personal Injuries in Illinois During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Dangerous driving leading to pedestrian fatalities increased during the pandemic and shutdowns. While Illinois drivers stayed home due to closures and stay-at-home orders, other drivers were on the roads and driving with increased aggression and recklessness. All over the Chicagoland area, people may have seen speeding, distracted and impaired driving. A perception of relaxed law enforcement could be one of many factors leading to car accidents involving pedestrian fatalities in Illinois.
People walking in Chicago and the suburbs can easily be injured and or killed by people driving cars, trucks, and even riding bicycles. Pedestrians can learn and adopt new safety habits to be more aware of surroundings and spot dangerous conditions before someone is injured or killed. Even if a pedestrian is injured by another pedestrian, or someone on a bike or skateboard, much less a car or truck, there are legal remedies and lawsuits to protect the injured, and the families of the injured and deceased. In some cases, there is municipal and business owner liability for the areas in and around sidewalks, crosswalks, and other paths where pedestrians are present.
Injuries not properly treated can lead to permanent disability and loss of long-term mobility and quality of life. The injuries of someone driving a car involved in an accident can include whiplash and soft tissue injuries needing chiropractic and other medical care including surgeries. Imagine being the person walking down the sidewalk or crossing the street and being injured; the damage and recovery can be extreme, and the injuries sustained are often not survivable.
Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Michael V. Favia represents clients and their families in Chicago and all over the State of Illinois when there is an accident causing injuries and deaths including pedestrian fatalities.
Illinois Governors Highway Safety Association Report: Spotlight on Highway Safety
The annual report filed by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), their Spotlight on Highway Safety, shows an increase in the pedestrian fatality rate by 20 percent during just the first six months of 2020. The report offers data and several infographics highlighting the increased risks for pedestrians when drivers are negligent in driving too fast, distracted, and under the influence. Additionally, the study considers the number of people driving SUVs instead of smaller passenger cars. Also considering pedestrian safety, the report mentions the safety of intersections, lighting options, and other ways that conditions can be safer for drivers and pedestrians alike.
What Type of Dangerous Driving Behaviors Cause Pedestrian Fatalities?
Anyone who has lived in the City of Chicago knows that late at night there are more car crashes because people are speeding, being reckless, and often under the influence of alcohol and or other drugs. On any given Sunday morning on the Northside along Western Avenue, for example, it is unfortunately common to see parked cars looking recently hit by a dangerous driver. During the pandemic and shutdowns, however, this type of dangerous condition became a problem during daytime hours. As essential workers in transit to work, and as people who needed to be out on the roads, were, dangerous driving caused an increased number of pedestrian fatalities in Illinois.
Mental Health, Substance Use, Pandemic Anxiety, and Aggressive Behavior
The test of any relationship is being limited in mobility and space. Some people, especially those with larger families, immediately needed to learn to cope with everyone being around, all the time. Next door, however, a single neighbor might be completely isolated, not even having a pet to keep company. Usually, people reserve Thanksgiving and Christmas to talk about the tension of being around others for an extended time. The pandemic changed all of that, for almost everyone.
In the news, it is common to hear reports about consumer spending and behavior during COVID-19. Mental health professionals and advertisers alike are focused on the increased and sale of alcohol, tobacco products, fast food, and other substances during the pandemic. Many reports indicate that people started smoking again and drinking more than normal. Drug use also spiked during shutdowns.
Mental health professionals appreciate the weight of pandemic shutdowns, news reports, and the interruption of life that can lead to all kinds of mental health issues including disease and breakdowns, often involving aggressive and dangerous decisions and behavior.
Pedestrian Safety and the Importance of Being Aware of Surroundings
Pedestrians can always be more aware of their surroundings and how to avoid becoming a death statistic. There are dangerous drivers and distracted people regularly, and one does not need a pandemic to be a safer person.
Here are some tips on being a safer pedestrian:
- Be aware of your surroundings and not be distracted by a phone or device.
- Be able to hear what is going on instead of listening to music while walking.
- Wear clothing items that are easily seen by others, including drivers.
- Wear appropriate shoes to handle the terrain and avoid slips and falls.
- Obey all traffic laws at intersections and designated walking areas like sidewalks.
- Only cross the street at marked and controlled intersections whenever possible.
- Avoid being a pedestrian at night or during inclement weather if possible.
When sharing the roads and sidewalks with others, assume that drivers may be distracted, as well as other pedestrians and cyclists. It is remarkable how much of the surroundings and details going on are missed by people otherwise engaged in their cell phone or device, whether on a screen or listening to music. Next time walking somewhere, make a conscious effort to look for potential accidents and injuries from one point to another. How many close calls could be pedestrian fatalities if the car would have been going just a little faster or the person crossing the street was suddenly distracted by something?
The more aware of surroundings a pedestrian is, the safer they can navigate in a potentially dangerous outside world full of dangerous conditions.
Injuries to Pedestrians Resulting in Serious Long-Term Injuries and Death
Pedestrians do not win the battle with a car, truck, or bicycle. A person walking down a sidewalk or crossing the street is not likely to survive being hit by a car or other mobile vehicle. If they do survive the accident, it is likely to have permanent injuries and require short-term and long-term care. Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Michael V. Favia represents injured people and their families who deserve money damages and compensation for their losses. Damages compensated by money include the loss of work and the pain and suffering of an accident victim.
When victims of pedestrian accidents leave behind families, Chicago Wrongful Death Attorney Michael V. Favia files lawsuits for the families of the deceased to pay them money damages for the loss of their loved one and the loss of their current and future earning capacity.
In Chicago and the suburbs, Injury Attorney Michael V. Favia offers free injury and death lawsuit consultations. The Favia Law Firm has offices located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest Side, and Rolling Meadows.