Last year, pedestrian deaths rose in Chicago after remaining stable for three years. The 48 deaths were the highest figure in five years. According to Active Transportation Alliance's Director Ron Burkle, the jump in fatalities was due to a "mild" winter (by Chicago standards), and drivers not paying attention:
“The weather was better. It was relatively mild, especially in the winter,” Active Transportation Alliance Director Ron Burke said. “And driving went back up for the first time in a while. ... It looks like probably more people were out walking because of the mild weather. That alone creates potentially, unfortunately, some additional crashes.”
23 of the 48 deaths were hit and run accidents, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration spokesman Jose Ucles says distractions like people doing a myriad of things on their cell phones is the main distraction. Cycling deaths also increased slightly, with eight compared to seven in 2011.