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Chicago Officials Working to Improve Pedestrian Safety

Chicago city officials have set a goal to reduce serious pedestrian injuries by 50 percent over the next five years. The goal is eliminate such accidents completely in the five years following that. According to the executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance, 7-8 pedestrian injuries occur each day in Chicago. Pedestrian-vehicle collisions cause more than 3,000 injuries and 30 deaths per year in the city. The problem is substantial.

To reach the safety goal, police set up a sting operation on the North Side to catch drivers who fail to come to a stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. Police intend to complete a total of 60 sting operations this year. These will largely focus on intersections near senior housing facilities, high-traffic retail areas and schools. Police will be issuing citations to drivers who fail to obey the law.

Illinois statutes regarding pedestrians at crosswalks requires vehicles to stop and yield the right-of-way if the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway where the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is close enough as to be in danger. If one vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk, marked or unmarked, while a pedestrian crosses, no other vehicles are allowed to overtake and pass the stopped vehicle. This law, passed in 2010, replaced a statute that allowed drivers yield to pedestrians without stopping unless stopping was necessary.

Police can issue citations up to $120 in Chicago and up to $500 in other jurisdictions. Chicago officials report that more than 1,200 citations were issued in 2013 to drivers who failed to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Chicago police cracking down on drivers who ignore crosswalks," by Jon Hilkevitch, 2 July 2014

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