Nearly 300,000 Chicago car accidents occur each year, killing at least one motorist per day. That’s an astounding 821 crashes every day.
Yet the Chicago Tribune reports that new statistics released by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning show that the rates of traffic deaths and serious injuries have declined dramatically in the last decade. In all, about 200 fewer lives are being lost per year.
Our Chicago accident lawyers will review this study and the upcoming release of 2009 data from the Illinois Department of Transportation, as we continue monitor traffic safety trends in the greater Chicago area. As we have reported both here and on our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, statewide traffic fatalities declined to the lowest level in almost a century of reporting last year. This year’s numbers are on track to beat last year’s.
Authorities credit safer vehicles and more aggressive enforcement measures, as well as tougher primary enforcement seat belt laws and distracted driving initiatives that ban things like cell phone use and text messaging while behind the wheel. As we have reported here previously, traffic experts also believe the high unemployment and tough economy has reduced the number of accidents as fewer people are commuting to and from work or traveling on vacation.
The study did reveal a number of challenges, including:
-Reducing the number of serious and fatal Chicago pedestrian accidents.
-Recognizing trends in the high number of late-night fatal accidents that occur across the metropolitan area.
-Reducing the number of teenage driving accidents.
-High accident rates in areas of rapid suburban expansion, including Kendall, Lake and Will counties.
Overall, the annual number of deaths and injuries resulting from traffic accidents in the seven-county region declined by 12.5 percent from 2002 to 2005 and 18 percent from 2005 to 2008. Fatalities decreased 30.5 percent from 2005 to 2008, from 629 deaths to 437 deaths.
The report also found that travel times can be significantly reduced by improving the overall safety of the system. “If we are serious about reducing congestion, one way is to reduce crashes,” said Tom Murtha, a senior planner and the report’s co-author. “There is positive reinforcement between the two.”
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, the Chicago car accident attorneys at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.