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wrongful deathIllinois law makers have been busy trying to change driving laws to ensure that cyclists are protected in crosswalks. On June 9, 2016, Joni Beaudry was the victim of wrongful death when crossing a pedestrian-activated crosswalk in Mount Prospect, IL. A driver struck her after speeding and failing to stop. The intersection had recently undergone a nearly $100K safety renovation in October 2015.

The intersection improvements included a new pedestrian barrier median halfway across the lanes, decreasing the crossing distance, as well as a flashing yellow light beacon that would activate after a pedestrian pushed a button. However, the attorney representing the family in their wrongful death lawsuit is concerned about the safety of the design.

IDOT to blame for the wrongful death of Joni Beaudry?

IDOT maintains jurisdiction of the intersection and has stated that the design is acceptable. The victim’s husband and his attorney believe that unless major changes are made, more wrongful death accidents may occur. When the flashing yellow beacon is activated, drivers are supposed to stop until all pedestrians have crossed. Many drivers don’t stop because the flashing yellow light is contradictory to the command to stop. Supporters of the victim’s family have called for major renovations such as a pedestrian bridge or a High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk (a.k.a. HAWK), which is a pedestrian-activated intersection that allows traffic to flow freely until a pedestrian activates the light. Once the light is activated, it switches gradually to a red light to allow pedestrians to cross safely. IDOT stated HAWK intersections do not meet their traffic control requirements.

wrongful death

An example of a HAWK intersection on Page Avenue in St. Louis County, MO. The lights flash yellow after activated and turn to red, giving pedestrians a safer option to cross a busy roadway. (Image courtesy of Google Maps)

Until drivers are more aware of pedestrians and cyclists, sadly these wrongful death collisions will continue to occur. Distracted driving, speeding and general disregard for cyclists and pedestrians cause the occurrence for wrongful death to rise.

If you or a loved one has been affected by a wrongful death of a family member killed by an inattentive driver, contact our firm today to discuss your legal rights. Time is of the essence in these cases to preserve evidence. You can fill out our contact form now or call our office now at 314-862-7222.

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