Tag Archives: traffic safety

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.”

Tribune Links Speed Camera Data To Short Yellow Light Times

red_light_cameraSpeed data used in selecting city speed camera locations seem to show Chicago’s traffic signals have yellow light times that are too short according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Tribune acquired studies conducted with radar guns to survey the speed of vehicles at 168 locations around the city. The data showed that in the vast majority of locations drivers were travelling an average of 5 mph over the posted 30 mph limit.

The newspaper took this data to traffic safety engineers and experts and asked them, based on this data, are Chicago’s 3 second yellow light times set too short?

According to the people the Trib spoke too the answer is an overwhelming–YES.

Road Rage Incident Ruins Pleasant Saturday Morning

road-rage-no-one-wins

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.

Driver Ticketed For ‘Driving While Eating” In Georgia

“You can’t just go down the road eating a hamburger,” a police officer told a driver in Cobb County Georgia while issuing him a ticket under the state’s distracted driver law there.

The driver was scarfing down a quarter pounder with cheese from McDonald’s and was told by the officer he had observed him eating the burger while following him for two miles according to WSB-TV in Atlanta.

The officer wrote “eating while driving” in the comments section of the ticket.

Illinois’ Worst Driver Get’s Arrested 22 Times

Alredo Luna has to be Illinois’ worst driver.

The 62-year old Chicago man was pulled over and arrested for driving on a revoked license for the 22nd time last week.

That’s right, he’s been arrested 22 times for being caught driving on a revoked license.

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:

CBS 2 Catches Bikers, Drivers & Pedestrians Behaving Badly

Do some bicyclists think they own the road?

That’s the question CBS 2 News wanted to answer and spent eight hours over four days videotaping a downtown intersection to find out.

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

Group: Drivers Not Stopping For Pedestrians At Crosswalks

A sign in Evanston reminds drivers to stop when pedestrians are present.

A sign in Evanston reminds drivers to stop when pedestrians are present.

Despite a state law that’s been on the books for four years, most Chicago drivers are not stopping at crosswalks when pedestrians are crossing street according to the Active Transportation Alliance.

The group conducted a recent survey that it says shows only 18% of motorists stop to allow a pedestrian within a marked crosswalk to walk across the street. The survey claims that percentage drops dramatically at unmarked crosswalks plunging to just 5% of the time. The law requires vehicles to stop for pedestrians crossing the street within a crosswalk whether marked or not.

“Many people are unaware of the law and believe that cars only have to stop for pedestrians when there is a ‘stop for pedestrians’ sign at the crosswalk, and these signs led to much higher compliance in our survey,” said Burke. “But we aren’t going to get ‘must stop’ signs at every crosswalk, so it’s important that the public learn about this law.”

The survey conducted by Active Trans was made up of 208 attempts to cross the street at 52 locations within the city and nearby suburban towns.

The group’s research found that drivers complied with the law at painted crosswalks with enhanced safety features like “Stop For Pedestrian” signs, brick, stone or raised crosswalks or even flashing lights.

Active Trans says 90 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in the metro Chicago area in 2012.

“Stepping into a crosswalk in Chicago is an invitation to be run over,” said Bob Gallo, state director of AARP Illinois which worked with Active Trans in 2009 to pass the Must Stop for Pedestrians Law. “Unfortunately, this is especially true for older residents who are more likely to be injured or killed than pedestrians of all other ages.”

In their effort to have more motorists complying with the law and stopping at crosswalks, the group is pushing statewide education programs akin to the “Click it or Ticket” campaign using billboards, public service announcements and ads to get the word out.

In addition, Active Trans wants more enforcement similar to what the Chicago Police Department does from time to time in their crosswalk enforcement initiatives where they ticket drivers who don’t stop for pedestrians.

Burke admits that most drivers are just ignorant of the law and believes most motorists would obey it if they were aware the law existed. He thinks as more drivers start stopping for pedestrians, things will eventually reach a critical mass where drivers will almost always stop at crosswalks.

“Driving behavior is contagious,” said Burke from Active Trans. “Once a significant percentage of motorists begin to stop for pedestrians, you’ll see it catch on and become the norm like it is in other states.”