In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported over 4,500 fatal crashes were at intersections or intersection-related. This is disturbing considering design changes of intersections have been on-going for the last 25 years.
Our Chicago personal injury lawyers have followed the debate over the affects of red light cameras, and whether they can reduce the number of Illinois car accidents that occur each year at intersections.
The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration summed it up best when the feds said that intersections are the most complex traffic situation drivers encounter on a daily basis.
Even with resources dedicated to intersection safety from AAA, FHWA, the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the NHTSA, nearly 21% of all traffic fatalities are still occurring at intersections.
NHTSA reports that Illinois is at its lowest total of intersection related fatalities in 5 years. With roughly 200 intersections having red light cameras installed throughout the city, fatal intersection crashes are decreasing but the less severe rear-end collisions have increased. These can still lead to serious or even fatal injuries.
It is clear that conventional intersection designs can’t handle the volume of traffic we have today. The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration in April 2010 released the Alternative Intersections/Interchanges: Informational Report that explains 4 alternative designs for intersections.
Though these alternative designs are very different from each other all have one goal in mind: The elimination of left turn lanes, which many safety advocates believe is the key to making intersections safer. These designs eliminate at least one left turn lane. In the days when vehicle speeds were slower and the volume of traffic was not as heavy, the idea of turning left in front of oncoming traffic wasn’t as dangerous. These days it is downright treacherous to make a left turn at many intersections in the city and the statistics prove it. Not only are motorists at high risk but left turns substantially increase the risk of a Chicago pedestrian accident or bicycle accident.
Decreasing the number of left turn lanes will also mean shorter waits at traffic signals and an increased volume of traffic getting through the intersection.Until then, only in NASCAR is turning left a no-brainer.
Intersections are a challenge to any motorist. Regardless of their design, nothing replaces safe driving skills. Please make it a point to use extra caution at intersections this spring and use special care in watching for bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcycles.
If you or a family member is injured or killed in an Illinois traffic crash, contact the Chicago car accident lawyers at Abels & Annes for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS.