October 13, 2010 - Did you know that a new law became effective on July 22, 2010 that requires vehicles to stop at crosswalks when pedestrians are present? It used to be that vehicles had to yield, but now they must come to a complete stop. This applies to all crosswalks, even if there are no traffic signals, stops signs or clearly defined crosswalk markings. This does not mean that pedestrians can just walk into the street and expect cars to stop - they have to wait until it is safe to cross.
This new law was created to encourage drivers to be more aware of pedestrians. Illinois Department of Transportation statistics show that more than 6,000 pedestrians are hit by cars statewide each year. An average of 170 of those hit are killed and 1,000 are seriously injured.
To read the actual law, see our Legal Updates page.
This law applies to all crosswalks, whether they are clearly marked or not! Here are some photos from around town:
General signs warning of pedestrian crossing. Intersection with crosswalk, but no signs.
School zone marked with new sign (stop). Crosswalk marked with old sign (yield).
Another unsigned crosswalk.