This year’s unusually warm autumn season in Illinois has caused a larger amount of people to travel on roadways throughout the state, resulting in the number of traffic deaths spiking by 9% as compared to this time last year. Our personal injury attorneys learned that according to a report by Chicago CBS Local, 923 people have been killed in car, motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents as of this week. This is a significant increase from last years total of fatalities recorded through December. Although state officials have not linked the economy to the increase in accidents, many believe lower fuel prices are contributing to more drivers on the road, and thus, more opportunities for accidents.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Secretary states that roughly 10% of the state’s traffic fatalities this year are tentatively tied to distracted driving, including texting or talking on the phone while driving, despite many public awareness campaigns in place. “Distracted driving is playing a role,” the Secretary said. “We also have noticed that we’ve seen a 70% increase in motorcycle related fatalities . . . [The spike in fatalities] is part of a national trend and part of it could be that we saw increase in travel…” The report says that State Police have also dealt with an increase in DUI and wrong-way driving accidents in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs, causing a significant amount of personal injury and fatalities.
Our law firm read that 54 electronic billboards on and near Chicago area expressways are used to feature a running tally of deaths due to motor vehicle accidents, updated in real time. “The billboard campaign that we have going on is to use our ‘dynamic message signs’ to let people know the current fatality count. I know there might be some controversial questions about that,” the IDOT Secretary said. “The idea is to really grab attention so that drivers can see what they do on the road really can make a difference.”