According to the Chicago Tribune, the Illinois Department of Transportation reported that 2013 marked the second consecutive year that traffic deaths within the state were on the rise. The 956 traffic fatalities of 2012 were an increase from the 918 number the year before, and 2013 marked another increase with 973 crash-related deaths. That is a nearly four percent rise over the last two years.
While the numbers reflected above may not seem promising, 2013 actually marked the fifth year in a row in which traffic fatalities in Illinois did not break the 1,000 mark. This echoes the national trend of decreased crash fatalities overall, and the recent rises represent normal fluctuation within the historically low numbers.
Experts suggest that rather than putting too much emphasis on the data year-to-year, the focus should be on the larger picture and how one year's numbers compare to previous decade's data. For example, in 2009, Illinois experienced 911 traffic fatalities; the lowest since 1921. In 2004, 1,355 people died from crash related injuries, and the number hit its highest in 1941 with 2,600 deaths.
Over the years, Illinois has attempted to remedy the problem of traffic related fatalities with tougher safety laws involving mandatory seat belts, and allowing officers to pull a vehicle over solely if car occupants were not properly buckled. Representatives from the Illinois Department of Transportation point to seat belt usage as a direct contributor to the historically low number of car accident deaths.
While the numbers of total fatalities may be on the decline overall, there is a rising number of fatalities associated with pedestrians and cyclists. Since more citizens are using these alternative methods of transportation, they are more exposed to the risk of being hit by a vehicle. The increase is reflected on the national level.
Two of the new laws being ushered in by the New Year, one making handheld cell phone use while driving illegal, and the other increasing the speed limit on Illinois' interstate roads to 70 miles per hour, will likely affect road safety. There are concerns that the increased speed limit will result in more crashes, and ultimately, more traffic related fatalities. Some say law enforcement will be key in enforcing the new speed limit and avoiding allowing drivers any leeway.If you or someone you know has been tragically killed in an automobile accident in Illinois, you may have a cause of action against the person responsible. An experienced car accident attorney can discuss your case with you and get you the justice you deserve. Contact us today for a consultation.
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