Two days ago, the Aurora Beacon-News posted an article online that described a severe pedestrian accident involving a teen driver. The motorist, who is 16, did not have a driver’s license and was operating a car at night. The teenager hit a pedestrian, causing the pedestrian to suffer serious head injuries. From the accident, the pedestrian was airlifted to a nearby hospital where he is now in critical condition. The driver had only a minor cut on her foot from the accident, and was cited for “not having a valid driver’s license and violating the state’s graduated driver licensing laws.”
After reading this article, a Chicago accident lawyer at our firm pointed out the importance of pedestrian safety. Pedestrians share the road with motorists and cyclists. Pedestrians should always use clearly marked crosswalks when available, and when there is no crosswalk, they should walk facing oncoming traffic in order to make themselves more visible. Intersections are also the most common place for pedestrian accidents to occur, so it is important to be extra cautious. Nighttime also makes seeing difficult for motorists, and a way to be seen is to wear reflective clothing or carry a flashlight while walking. Not only is it important for pedestrians to be cautious and visible, but also it is important that motorists stay alert on the road and aware that pedestrians may be present. Staying alert at cross walks or intersections is something that drivers should do all the time, but also something that will help motorists avoid colliding with pedestrians.
From the perspective of a Chicago car accident lawyer, it is important for states to implement a graduated driver-licensing program like the one in Illinois. As we have said before in previous posts, the GDL program was created to give teenagers and young people the necessary tools they nee to drive a car safely. The Illinois program ahs three phases: the permit phase for drivers that are 15 years old, the initial licensing phase for drivers that are between 16 and 17 years old, and the full licensing phase for drivers who are between 18 and 20. In the permit phase, teen drivers must drive with a parent or guardian and a permit. They have curfew restrictions, and need to have their permit for at least nine months before continuing on to the intermediate phase. Everyone must wear a seatbelt, and drivers may never use a cellphone besides for emergencies. In the initial licensing phase, parents or a guardian certifies that 50 hours of driving has been completed, and the driver may go take the driver’s license exam if a state-approved driver’s education class has been completed. The curfew is still in place, as well as wearing seatbelts, and additionally, drivers may only have one passenger. In the final phase, no age restrictions apply. It is not clear whether the driver involved in this accident possessed a permit or was in the initial licensing phase.
Our Illinois car accident lawyers believe that if the driver in this accident had been properly following the GDL program and was not driving at night and alone, this accident could have been avoided. We encourage parents to educate their teens on state driving laws and enforce strict driving rules so that accidents like this do not occur.