Chicago is an active, mobile city with a large number of people who walk. But Chicagoans need to be on the alert to exercise caution while they travel throughout the city on foot. According to a new study, pedestrian deaths are on the rise across the U.S. That makes people in cities like Chicago especially prone to pedestrian accidents.
The study included research reports compiled by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, the United States Consumer Protection Safety Commission, the Westlaw Campus Research database and archives of Google news that covered the time period between January 1, 2004 and June 1, 2011.
According to the study, the number of pedestrians who wear headphones and sustain serious injury or are killed near roads and railways has tripled over a six year period. The research shows that from 2004-2005 to 2010-2011 the number of headphone related pedestrian accidents increased from 16 to 47. Moreover, the study shows that in 34 out of 116 cases, horns or sirens were sounded prior to striking the victims – and some victims reported never hearing them.
The clear result of the study is that it can be dangerous for people to walk through city traffic using music player devices or cell phones with headphones because they cannot hear key traffic noises. Pedestrians who wear headphones need to be especially careful that they can still receive auditory cues, which can be even more important than visual cues, while they are walking around the city. As it is, cars hit over 3,000 people in Chicago every year.
With an aim to reduce pedestrian accidents and deaths, the Chicago Department of Transportation, Chicago Police Department and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched a new pedestrian safety campaign in October 2011. The campaign includes displaying graphic posters depicting pedestrian accident victims throughout the city to remind people to be alert and exercise caution while they walk around the city.