New crosswalk law aims to reduce serious and fatal Chicago pedestrian accidents

Authorities are out in force on a high-profile campaign to ticket drivers for violating a new state law aimed at reducing the number of Chicago pedestrian accidents and serious and fatal crosswalk accidents elsewhere in the state.

The new law requires drivers to stop for pedestrians in all crosswalks, even those which do not have a stop sign or traffic signal, or face a fine of $50 to $500, the Chicago Breaking News Center reported. Our Chicago accident attorneys frequently report on the dangers of pedestrian accidents. As we reported in July on our Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, more than 800 crashes a day occur in Chicago and authorities have made reducing pedestrian accidents a goal at both the state and national level. A total of 3,484 Chicago pedestrian accidents were reported in 2008, killing 52 and injuring 3,225, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Illinois pedestrian accidents resulted in 135 fatalities in 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In releasing accident statistics for 2009, the NHTSA made reducing pedestrian accidents a priority, along with a reduction in drunk driving accidents and motorcycle accidents.

Thousands of “Yield” signs at intersections throughout the Chicago area are being replaced with signs alerting the public to the rule charge. In August, 127 tickets were written as the city resumed its sting operations at crosswalks with a history of serious or fatal accidents.

Illinois’ law took effect this summer and is aimed at the thousands of motorists who routinely ignore pedestrians in crosswalks. Authorities say the problem is particularly acute in downtown Chicago, where authorities have spent several years conducting undercover operations that station plain-clothes police officers in crosswalks to catch motorists violating the law.

A number of pedestrians interviewed said cab drivers are among the most egregious violators. And the city has received more than $10 million in grants but done little or nothing to relieve the heavy traffic and congestion on the south side of Jackson Boulevard south of Union Station. A CDOT spokesman said improvements have no timetable but could begin in the next few years.

If you or a loved one is involved in an accident, contact a Chicago injury lawyer at Abels & Annes for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS.

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