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Ten percent of pedestrian accidents occur in Chicago school zones

Pedestrian strikes happen all of the time. However, sources link an inordinate amount of vehicle-pedestrian accidents to areas surrounding school zones.
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    February 21, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Despite the presence of children walking to and from Chicago schools, many drivers do not slow down sufficiently and often do not stop for children crossing at pedestrian crosswalks. A woman who has been volunteering as a crosswalk monitor for many years recently recounted some of her horror stories. She states that cars will honk and veer around her as she walks in front of traffic, escorting children across the road, her handheld stop sign held high.

Research attests to the woman's observations. An analysis of the most recent accident data for the Windy City noted that from 2007 through 2011, approximately 1,700 children were struck by cars in Chicago within a block from a school. Furthermore, the youths involved in accidents represented an average of 10 percent of all pedestrians hit by cars in the city over the five-year period.

The data demonstrated that approximately 22 percent of an estimated 16,500 vehicle-pedestrian accidents involved injuries to youths. These results do not include the number of near-collisions, which is much higher.

School zone laws in Illinois

While pedestrian accidents near school grounds are linked to distracted driving, such as talking or texting on a cellphone while driving, Chicago police state that most incidents simply result from failing to yield to pedestrians. Illinois law requires that all drivers yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who are in crosswalks. However, laws are much more strict in school zones and drivers must do the following when in a school zone:
- Come to a complete stop for pedestrians in crosswalks
- Refrain from all use of cellphones
- Slow down between the times of 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. during school days
- Limit speed to 20 miles per hour

There is an average of 3,000 vehicle-pedestrian crashes per year in Chicago. A 2011 study provided by the Chicago Department of Transportation found that 80 percent of serious and fatal crashes occurred within 125 feet of the midpoint of an intersection. Recent numbers also indicate that locations on the West and South sides are hot spots for car-pedestrian accidents involving children.

Despite ongoing efforts to carry out a pedestrian safety program and step up enforcement of traffic laws, Chicago has not been very successful in reducing fatal pedestrian accidents. It will take several years before the city expects positive advancements.

Nevertheless, all motorists carry the responsibility of safe driving. It is negligent to be inattentive to one's surroundings such as pedestrians and other obstacles -- especially in school zones. If you or a loved one are injured in a vehicle-pedestrian accident, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as you may be entitled to compensation for your losses.

Article provided by McNabola Law Group
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