Deaths From Traffic Crashes Up 9% Statewide
So far this year, Illinois has recorded 533 traffic fatalities (as of Wedneaday) compared to 488 at this time last year. That’s 45 more deaths and a 9% increase according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times.
Illinois Department of Transportation officials attribute the increases to a lot of factors–increases in distracted driving and driving while impaired as well as a recent spike in wrong way driving.
But Illinois is not the only state seeing increased crashes and traffic fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released numbers showing a 13.5% increase in traffic deaths nationally for the first quarter of 2012.
DePaul professor Joseph Schwieterman claims lower gas prices has resulted in higher traffic volume and ultimately more crashes and deaths.
“When traffic increases, fatalities go up because you get more congestion and more opportunities for accidents when you get to two lane roads in heavy traffic,” Schwieterman said. “Traffic is up eight percent [nationwide] this year, so the nine percent increase in accidents is of no surprise to me.”
IDOT has rolled out a few more programs to promote driving safety this year centering around work zone safety, DUI education, and discouraging drivers not to engage in texting while driving and other distracted driving behavior.
Read the Sun-Times full story, “Illinois traffic crashes up 9 percent this year.”