Category Archives: Traffic Safety

Law Enforcement Cracking Down On Impaired Drivers Labor Day Weekend

Uh-OhDrive sober and wear your seat belt–or get pulled over.

That’s the message The Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Police is trying to communicate to drivers this Labor Day Holiday.

This weekend marks the end of a two-week crackdown on impaired driving.

IDOT and State Police say state patrols and local police and sheriffs departments will be out in force through early Tuesday morning looking for impaired motorists and drivers and passengers not wearing safety belts.

Seatbelt Usage Reaches 95% On Illinois Roads

SeatbeltThe Illinois Department of Transportation announced this week that safety belt usage for drivers and front seat passengers has reached an all-time high of 95.2% on Illinois roads.

IDOT says it’s a 1.1% increase over last year when Illinois’ 94.1% gave the state the 7th highest seatbelt usage rate in the U.S. according to the National Highway Safety Administration. This year’s numbers should improve Illinois ranking.

“More and more Illinois drivers are getting the message that something as simple as buckling up every time you get into a vehicle saves lives,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Blankenhorn. “This is great news and an encouraging trend, but we still have more work to do. To get the usage rate even higher and save even more lives on Illinois roadways, we will look to strengthen our partnerships with law enforcement on safety campaigns and continue searching for creative new ways to get out the message on the importance of using your seat belt.”

Traffic Safety Activists Say Tollway Suppressing Speed Limits

70 MPH signThursday the Illinois Tollway announced speed limit increases for a handful of segments on its system including the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80), the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) and the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355).

But traffic safety proponents are saying the proposed speed limit increases are being set at unsafely low levels.

According to the Tollway, increases will affect just 62% of Tollway system based on recommendations from Tollway traffic engineers and traffic studies commissioned by the agency.

The increases come in the wake of state legislation, and subsequent clarifying legislation that increased speed limits on all Illinois expressways to 70 mph on January 1st.

Road Rage Incident Ruins Pleasant Saturday Morning


It started with a honking horn.

Stopped at the stop sign on a one-way street at Irving Park Road Saturday morning, the impatient female driver behind me was in a hurry to get somewhere.

Unfortunately, Saturday morning traffic was brisk in both directions, so she was going to have to wait until there was a break in traffic before I was going to try to cross the busy four lane street. Perhaps she felt I should be a jerk and pull onto the street and block a lane or two of oncoming traffic while waiting for the other side of the street to be clear enough to cross. But that wasn’t going to happen.

Finally, after a few minutes there was a break in the traffic and I began pulling across Irving.

But my impatient friend behind me also saw the opening and instead of waiting for me, the driver with the right of way, to go first, she lurched into the left lane and accelerated along side me. And then instead of turning left or going straight, the driver turned right in front of our vehicle, cutting us off in her hurry to get around my car.

Unfortunately, our vehicles lightly scraped.

Damn. My son and I were going to be late to his music class.

Wrong Way Crashes Claim 50 Lives In Illinois Since 2005

50 killed and 300 injured in 198 crashes.

That’s the numbers for wrong-way crashes in Illinois between 2005-2012 according to a report by NBC 5.

Not surprisingly, most of these wrong-way crashes involve intoxicated motorists driving home during early morning hours. The vast majority of these crashes occur on expressways within the Chicago metro area.

IDOT: Crashes Tick Up 4% 2013, Highest Since 2008

CrashThe Chicago Tribune breaks down Illinois crash statistics for 2013 in a recent story and finds that vehicle crashes and fatalities were both up last year.

There were 991 crash related fatalities last year, 37 more than in 2012 or a 4% increase statewide.

Traffic experts are theorizing crashes are up because people are driving more. There’s also concern the low price of gas may increase average miles driven and thus increase crashes and traffic deaths in 2015.

There are some interesting takeaways the Tribune points out from the statistics.

Here’s the breakdown:

70 MPH Speed Limit Coming To Illinois Tollway As Illinois House Overrides Governor’s Veto

Illinois State Senator Jim Oberweis

Illinois State Senator Jim Oberweis

The vote wasn’t even close.

100 Illinois State Representatives voted to override Governor Pat Quinn’s veto of a bill to raise the speed limit to 70 mph on Illinois Tollways Wednesday in Springfield. Only 11 voted against the override, with one abstention.

The Illinois Senate had completed its part of the override on November 21st, with a similarly overwhelming vote of 44-5-1.

Senator Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove), the bill’s sponsor, along with advocates to raise the speed limit to 70, have contended the law will reduce crashes and improve safety as it brings the posted speed limit in line with the speed at which motorists are already driving on the tollways. They cite research and studies which show the differential in speeds between those drivers obeying the speed limit and others driving at higher speeds which leads to more serious crashes.

Traffic studies done by the Illinois Tollway Authority and outside groups have found speeds on most segments of that roadway are averaging around 70 mph.

Illinois Senate Passes Veto Override Of 70 MPH Bill

70 MPH signOn Thursday in Springfield, the Illinois State Senate overwhelmingly 44-5-1 to override Governor Pat Quinn’s veto of a bill that will raise the speed limit on Illinois Tollways to 70 mph.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove), has been trying to raise the speed limit on Illinois expressways for the past two years with some success.

“The Governor is fond of saying ‘Let the will of the people be the law of the land,’ yet he was quick to veto legislation that was sponsored by 36 Senators representing Chicago, suburban and downstate areas of Illinois,” Oberweis said Thursday. “And today, a majority of my colleagues in the Senate joined me in overriding the Governor’s veto.”

A bill signed by Quinn in 2013 was supposed to increase the speed limit on all expressways–including the tollway and Chicago area expressways–at least according to Oberweis who authored the bill.

IDOT Warns Drivers Of Stepped Up Halloween Weekend Enforcement

illinoisstatepoliceThe Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Illinois State Police (ISP) are warning motorists of stepped up efforts by state and local law enforcement to catch impaired drivers this holiday weekend.

“Halloween is a fun holiday to celebrate, but poor decisions too often lead to real tragedy on Illinois roads,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Erica Borggren. “This Halloween, law enforcement will be on the lookout for drunk and unbuckled drivers to help keep the fun from turning into a deadly night.”

With traffic fatalities across the state down significantly compared to last year at this time, Halloween marks the start of a two month, end of the year effort to keep traffic deaths as low as possible.

IDOT says four of 19 motor vehicle related fatalities last year involved a driver who had consumed alcohol.

Drink responsibly, designate a driver and buckle up is the advice IDOT and the state police are giving motorists.

Trick Or Treat Safety Tips For Drivers & Pedestrians

jack-o-lanternHalloween may be the most dangerous night of the year for kids.

And not because of all the stomach aches that occur from consuming an overabundance of candy.

No, there are multiple studies that indicate more children are hit by vehicles on October 31st than any other 24 hour period of the year.

So, here are a few tips when you’re out driving on Halloween to make sure everyone gets home safe and sound Wednesday evening.

1-Slow Down