With summer officially underway, many people in Illinois may revel in the opportunity to be outside more and even walk instead of driving at times. Whether simply crossing a parking lot or out for a stroll through the city, being a pedestrian requires people to share the road with automobiles.
Pedestrians naturally lack protection compared to motorists surrounded by their vehicles. This exposes them to significant risk when accidents happen. Many new vehicles today feature technologies designed to prevent pedestrian accidents. However, the effectiveness of these technologies may lack in some situations.
AAA study looks at pedestrian safety features
A report by The Verge indicates that one study conducted by AAA deemed the pedestrian detection and automatic braking features of select 2019 vehicles to be completely ineffective at night, when the majority of pedestrian fatalities occur. Tests utilized pedestrian dummies on closed courses. Those conducted during daylight hours returned varying results. Tests with adult-sized dummies in a crosswalk and vehicles running at 20 miles per hour resulted in collisions 60% of the time. Other tests at similar speeds and during the day with child-sized dummies resulted in collisions nearly 90% of the time.
Pedestrian fatalities rise in Illinois
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that the decade spanning 2009 through 2018 proved tragic for pedestrians in Illinois. In 2009, there were 112 total pedestrian deaths statewide. These represented just over 12% of the state’s total vehicular fatalities that year. In 2017, pedestrians accounted for 13.5% of all accident deaths in Illinois. By 2018, foot traffic accounted for 16% of all accident fatalities with 165 pedestrians losing their lives on Illinois streets.