We are all aware of the risks when crossing the street. We teach our children from young ages to look both ways, to be patient for the sake of being safe. However, the commonality of this practice may be leading to a misguided sense of immortality — on the part of both the pedestrian and the driver. The pedestrian trusts that drivers are watching and yielding for crosswalks, and the driver trusts the pedestrian to look both ways anyway. Only one party needs to be wrong for there to be tragic results.
The good news is car companies have been working for decades to improve the safety standards of all vehicles on the roads. The bad news is SUVs specifically are still killing pedestrians, and they are doing it more often than one may think.
What makes SUVs dangerous to pedestrians?
No car is especially “safe” when it hits a pedestrian, but SUVs seem to be taking that to another level despite the best efforts of their manufacturers. A recent study found that, when hit by SUVs at speeds of at least 40 mph, one hundred percent of pedestrians died versus only 54% at the same speed by cars. This is a terrifying and sobering statistic, especially in a people-heavy city like Chicago, and especially because there is no way to predict when and where a tragedy will strike, or who it will happen to.
However, to identify a problem is to start on the path to solving it. So, what have experts identified about this issue? Why are SUVs so much deadlier to pedestrians than typical sedans? We may assume the issue is merely the difference in size, but the culprit seems to be the design instead. SUVs usually have wide, boxy fronts that are higher off the ground than the front bumpers of sedans, and this translates to more pedestrians being thrown when struck — which leads to more severe injuries than a simple collision. The higher front also means the point of impact is likely to be the pedestrian’s torso rather than the leg. Add in speed and the driver’s lack of attention for the ultimate recipe of disaster.
Whether or not you lose a loved one to the negligence of an SUV driver, this is still a problem close to home. While the study listed earlier took place in Michigan, its findings are reflected throughout the country — and we in Illinois are no different. This very month, right here in Chicago, a pedestrian was struck and killed by an SUV in a hit-and-run accident. The victim’s only crime was crossing the street. She paid for it with her life. As of right now, no one has been arrested for this tragedy – and as regular readers of our blog know, it is unlikely anyone will be.
How can we reduce the number of pedestrian accidents?
The very nature of accidents is their lack of predictability. This means that, while safety measures can always be added upon and improved, there is no concrete way to entirely avoid a tragedy from happening. Authorities and experts around the world still want to mitigate the risks as much as possible, of course, and more innovation is never a bad idea.
Cars these days are being produced with more airbags, more cameras, and more sensors designed to protect those in and around them. From alarms that will go off if you approach a crosswalk too quickly to mirrors and cameras that eliminate blind-spots, vehicles on the roads are only getting safer. As time goes on, we will probably see those horrific statistics get lower and lower. As great and helpful as this technology can be, it is not the only measure being considered.
One measure is a bill proposed by the New York State Senate, that would require trucks and SUVs to be rated on a scale for pedestrian safety. The idea behind this is education of the masses, a way to encourage people to truly understand how dangerous their vehicle can be to those around them. At the end of the day, pedestrian accidents are never the fault of the pedestrian. It is never acceptable for a person to be killed. Therefore, all educational measures are geared towards the drivers, as it really does all come down to them. Drivers across the board need to get better at staying alert and cautious behind the wheel. It is all too easy to have an inflated sense of confidence in one’s own driving abilities, and that faux-confidence can lead to simple mistakes with deadly results.
As sad as it is, as long as careless drivers continue to exist, so will the victims of their actions.
Why you should file a Chicago wrongful death claim after a fatal accident
Losing a loved one in an accident is tragic and world-altering regardless of how it occurred, or who caused it to happen. Aside from the emotional suffering, the sudden death of a loved one can bring on a great deal of financial suffering as well. From hospital bills to funeral costs to coping with a sudden loss of income, the unexpected death of a loved one creates significant financial burdens that you should not have to bear alone. Filing a wrongful death claim not only means bringing the culprit to justice — it means getting you the financial compensation you both need to protect your family’s future. It is what can give you the means to move on properly, so you can focus on healing.
The best advice is to get started on your fatal accident claim as quickly as possible. In Illinois, there is a statute of limitations that gives you only a year from your loved one’s death to seek damages.
It may be daunting to consider anything legal in the midst of your grief, but you are not expected to go through it alone. A trusted Chicago wrongful death attorney can help you with your claim and advocate for your family’s rights. At Gainsberg Law, we are proud to be that representation, with years of tenacious experience on our side getting our clients the damages and justice they deserve. For a no-obligation discussion about what we can do for you, call us today at 312-600-9585 or use our contact form. You should never have to pay for losing someone you love.
Neal S. Gainsberg has spent the last 20 years fighting to protect the rights of the injured in Chicago and throughout Illinois. From consumer rights and bankruptcy to catastrophic injuries and wrongful death, Mr. Gainsberg stands up to large corporations, insurance companies, creditors and hospital administrators to ensure that his clients’ futures are safe and secure. Learn More