Is there a dangerous intersection near you? A missing sign or a broken traffic signal that’s causing a safety issue? Even a pothole that’s been getting worse for weeks? Have you been wondering why no one has taken care of the problem?
It might be simply because no one has reported it. A particularly dangerous section of state road in Elkhart shows, if the people who are responsible for a section of road or highway aren’t doing anything about a problem, it might be because they don’t know about it.
Elkhart’s Most Dangerous Road?
Since 2014, more than 30 pedestrians have been injured and three killed in accidents on Cassopolis Street in Elkhart. The latest fatality occurred at the end of February when a 46-year-old man was struck by an SUV as he tried to cross the wide, busy road. A 72-year-old man was struck and killed within sight of this location in March of 2014. A 66-year-old man and 60-year-old woman were both struck on a nearby part of the street in August, 2014 (the man later died of his injuries).
Ignorance is Risk
The problem on Cassopolis Street developed through a combination of factors, including increased development in the area but also in part because of jurisdictional issues. Although Cassopolis Street (also known as S.R. 19) is known to be dangerous by many in Elkhart, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) claims to have been unaware of its recent accident history (a fact which the Elkhart City Engineer disputes). The City can’t install crosswalks and additional lights for pedestrian safety, because it’s not their road. The State says it’s willing to conduct a safety study to determine what can be done, but the City hadn’t made them aware of the problem and asked for help. Both sides now understand the extent of the situation and have said they will take action. But until they do, pedestrians using it will be at risk.
Limited Improvements on the Way
The City of Elkhart has already committed to a $2 million project to add sidewalks to one side of the street. While this won’t solve the problem, it’s a start: About half of the pedestrian accidents reported on Cassopolis have involved people walking along the road, not trying to cross it. However, this project may not be complete until 2018.
No other improvements to the street have been announced, but the article in the Elkhart Truth suggests that at least Elkhart and INDOT are now on the same page. With all parties aware of the problem, it should be easier to move forward.
Elkhart is by no means unique. A similar problem was highlighted in Indianapolis last year, and a report offered not only a list of the most dangerous pedestrian locations, but also recommendations to improve them. Indiana doesn’t rate very highly nationwide for pedestrian safety. From 2003 to 2012, around 17,000 Hoosiers were injured and nearly 650 killed in pedestrian crashes. Almost 200 of those deaths were in Indianapolis.
Let INDOT Know About Unsafe Roads
If there’s a dangerous crossing or section of a street near you, make sure the right people know about it. Bring it to the attention of your local officials or, if it’s a state road, contact INDOT. Use this online form to report a problem, or call them toll free. They want to know about it, even if it’s just a pothole. Their site includes a list of local agencies to contact, if the problem isn’t on a state road.
Helping Pedestrians and Motorists Every Day
At Wilson Kehoe Winingham, we deal with injuries due to traffic accidents all the time. If you need legal advice in a case involving a pedestrian crash, a car crash, a truck crash, or almost any other kind of personal injury situation, give us a call at 317-920-6400. We’ll give you a free consultation to discuss your individual case, and to explain the options available to you. You can also contact us online to have someone reach out to you at your convenience.