Police said that a Chicago cabdriver received several citations in relation to a recent crash that killed a pedestrian. The cabdriver had been a licensed public chauffeur in Chicago since 1987. According to police, he was cited for multiple violations, including speeding, negligent driving, driving on the sidewalk and disobeying a red traffic signal.
According to witnesses, the taxi flew through the intersection of Milwaukee and Chicago Avenues, striking a light pole and flipping over several times. A 30-year-old business student, who was waiting at a bus stop, was struck and killed.
Police said that the ongoing investigation would include a mechanical inspection of the vehicle. The cabdriver reported that he tried repeatedly to apply the brakes before the crash. According to the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, which is charged with regulating Chicago’s taxis, the driver had no relevant outstanding safety issues or moving violations.
However, records from Cook County Circuit Court show that the driver had received more than 30 citations since 1988, including violations such as speeding and running stop signs. Most of those violations were dismissed, and the driver had a clean record at the time of the crash, according to officials.
According to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times, there were 5,231 pedestrian injuries in 2009 in the state of Illinois, 111 of which resulted in death. Nationwide, there were 59,000 pedestrian injuries the same year; in 4,092 of those cases, the pedestrian was killed.
In pedestrian safety rankings of the 15 largest U.S. cities, Chicago is relatively safe, with the fifth-lowest rate of pedestrian deaths. In Chicago, 1.77 pedestrians are killed each year for every 100,000 residents. Boston, San Jose, Seattle and San Diego are the only major cities that are safer for pedestrians.
However, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), since 2005, more than 3,100 pedestrians in or near downtown Chicago have been injured in car crashes, with more than 400 suffering fatal or incapacitating injuries.
In the city’s central business district, 25 percent of pedestrian collisions involved a taxi, according to a 2011 report by CDOT. The weekday afternoon rush hour is the most dangerous time of day for pedestrian collisions, with most occurring between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
The last month has been a particularly dangerous time for pedestrians, with 11 fatalities citywide. This is particularly unusual, in light of the fact that the past three years saw fewer than 35 pedestrians killed in crashes annually.