Local attractions are plentiful in the state of Illinois. Residents have many incentives to get out on the roadways. However, the Illinois Department of Transportation reports that motor vehicle crashes have been increasing since 2009. Many a Chicago personal injury attorney is aware of the attending dangers of congested highways and careless or aggressive drivers.
(article continues below infographic)
Fatalities on all Illinois roadways have hovered just below 1,000 each year. Between 2012 and 2013, car accidents increased 4 percent in the United States, averaging 782 crashes per day across the country. Nearly 50 percent of the 2013 crashes in Illinois occurred in Cook County, according to the most recent statistics from the Illinois Department of Transportation. In Chicago, 130 individuals died in traffic accidents that year.
During 2014, there were an average of 2.5 fatalities per day. Experts point to falling gas prices and more miles logged per driver as possible explanations for the increasing number of accidents. There have been slight fluctuations in the number of injuries and fatalities since 2008, which could be an effect of varying weather conditions.
CyberdriveIllinois.com, which is run by the Illinois Secretary of State’s office, lists aggressive and distracted driving as common dangerous driving behaviors. Aggressive driving involves driving techniques that could endanger people or property. It encompasses many dangerous behaviors. These include the following:
- Ignoring traffic signals
- Following another vehicle too closely
- Honking the horn or flashing the headlights repeatedly
- Using the shoulder of the road to pass another vehicle
- Making improper gestures at other drivers
Driving at speeds exceeding the limit or that are unsafe for current road conditions is one of the most prevalent types of aggressive driving.
Any Chicago personal injury attorney knows that distraction continues to be a major safety hazard in spite of recent laws that ban drivers from using cellphones and other hand held electronics. These are not the only causes of distraction. Any activity that takes a driver’s attention from the road creates a hazard. Eating, drinking and adjusting the radio are common causes of distracted driving crashes.
New speed law
A law enacted in 2015 increases tollway speed limits to 70 miles per hour, which could raise road hazards. The Federal Highway Administration reported that raising speed limits correlates to an increase in fatalities. Other studies indicate that lower speed limits reduce overall speeds and speed-related crashes. It remains to be seen how this law will affect Illinois crash statistics.
A Chicago personal injury attorney may be able to help the victim of an accident caused by an aggressive or careless driver. Compensation is often available to cover hospital bills, lost wages, pain and suffering.