For the second year in a row, Illinois has recorded fewer than 1,000 fatal car accidents, a two-year mark not seen since the 1920s, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.
However, as our Chicago personal injury attorneys expected, the number of overall fatalities in Illinois has increased as the economy began its tentative recovery in 2010.As we reported on our Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Blog, there were a dozen fewer fatal Chicago car accidents recorded last year, but the overall number of fatalities statewide increased for the first time in recent years.
IDOT reports 923 people were killed on Illinois roads last year, compared to the 911 killed in crashes in 2009.
“IDOT is encouraged by this historic accomplishment, but understands that continued perseverance and hard work are essential to maintain or decrease the number of traffic fatalities in years to come,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig. “In recent decades, the goal of achieving fewer than 1,000 roadway fatalities in a state of this size was considered impossible, but now it is reality. We commend the efforts of our partners, as we spotlight the numerous effective programs administered by IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety and our partner agencies. We also applaud motorists’ continued efforts to drive safely and comply with highway safety laws in Illinois.”
Many believe the economic downturn and high gas prices has had a major impact on the number of serious and fatal traffic crashes in Illinois and throughout the nation. However, the state has implemented a number of safety initiatives in recent years, including a ban on text messaging by drivers, which took effect Jan. 1, 2010. Additional safety programs have targeted teen drivers, motorcycle riders, drunk drivers, work zone safety and large commercial trucks.
“The Illinois State Police is proud to continue its partnership with the Illinois Department of Transportation and law enforcement agencies to help reduce traffic crash fatalities. We remain committed to improving safety on Illinois roadways, and will utilize all available resources to provide safety education programs which promote safe driving habits,” said Interim Director Patrick E. Keen. “Although it is difficult to attribute the reduction of traffic crash fatalities to a single factor, there is no doubt that the combined efforts of law enforcement personnel, the Illinois Department of Transportation and our private partners have significantly contributed to saving lives. With the continued support and cooperation from the motoring public, we can help keep the momentum going for years to come.”
Safety officials also report seat-belt use reached an all-time high of 91.7 percent in 2009 and was bested in 2010 with 92.6 percent.
Prior to 2009, the last time the state recorded fewer than 1,000 traffic deaths was in 1921.
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