According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, 143 pedestrians were killed across the state in 2017 alone. Another 1,008 pedestrians experienced injuries so severe they were deemed incapacitating. Nearly 4,500 people on foot experienced some form of injury in a vehicular accident.
These facts highlight the very risky nature of being a pedestrian on Illinois roads. Whether out for a daily run or simply walking through a parking lot, people on foot face serious risks every day.
New vehicle technology promises improved pedestrian safety
More and more new vehicles today come equipped with technology-powered systems that tout better safety. Some of these systems do this by essentially taking control from human drivers and automatically stopping before hitting objects, including pedestrians.
The effectiveness of these systems, however, appears to fall tragically short in some cases.
AAA study finds problems with pedestrian safety features
AAA tested a set of vehicles with both pedestrian detection and automatic braking systems installed. On a closed course with adult-sized pedestrian dummies crossing directly in front of the vehicles, the dummies were hit by the test vehicles 60% of the time. These tests were conducted in broad daylight with no visual impairments. Vehicles operated at a mere 30 miles per hour in these tests.
Tests that involved child-sized dummies or during dark conditions returned even worse results.
This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give residents in Illinois an overview of the gaps that seem to still exist in advancing vehicle technology so they understand the importance of vigilance on the road.