Our Chicago car accident attorneys were very upset to learn that a shocking number of children struck my cars in the Chicago area were hit near schools. According to the Chicago Tribune, about 1,700 school age children were struck by cars in Chicago within a block of a school, during the years of 2007 through 2011. This is about half of the total number of children that were hit by vehicles in the Chicago area during that time period. The number of incidents where children were almost struck by a vehicle near a school is even higher. The areas that have the highest percentage of school children being struck by vehicles are the West and South sides of Chicago.
Chicago has a higher incidence of children hit near schools than many other major metropolitan areas even though the City of Chicago has tried to implement certain safeguards such as, pedestrian safety programs, stricter enforcement of laws and trying to reduce the level of traffic in these areas. At least in the Chicago area, statistics show that the most common cause of pedestrian accidents are drivers failing to yield in time to avoid an accident.
There is at least one crossing guard assigned to each Chicago public school. When asked, Chicago school crossing guards have said that drivers often honk, swear at them, give them the finger, barely slow down, wait until the last minute to stop and give them impatient looks while stopped to allow the people to cross the street. One crossing guard even said that she has been struck by a car that did not stop when she held up a stop sign to allow school kids to cross. Another Chicago crossing guard stated that she constantly see drivers talking on their cell phones and texting while they are driving through the school zones.
It is very important to always be aware of pedestrians and pay close attention to the road at all times, especially when you are driving near schools. In attention to stopping at all stop signs and yielding when necessary, keep in mind that in areas near small children, children may run out into the road even when they are not at a stop walk. Because of this possibility, drivers need to be extra cautious and alert and drive slow when driving through areas where children are present. Also, do not use your cell phone to make calls or text at any time when you feel it may distract you from paying attention to the road around you. Please be safe on the road to protect yourself as well as other drivers and pedestrians!