Why are Illinois car accidents rising?
The Chicago Tribune recently reported that motor vehicle crashes in Illinois have been steadily increasing over the past few years. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, 2013 saw the highest number of crashes since 2008, with an average of 782 crashes per day on the state’s roadways.
Experts believe that the rise could be due more traffic on the roads. With lower gasoline prices and a better economy, Illinois citizens may have more incentive to go on trips and enjoy the state’s many attractions. State officials are working to make the roads safer through awareness programs that combat driver issues that raise the risk of accidents. However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driver behaviors and errors cause the majority of the crashes.
Driving under the influence
NHTSA data shows that alcohol was a factor in 43 percent of the Illinois traffic fatalities in 2013. This makes it by far the biggest hazard, in spite of ongoing awareness programs and increased penalties. Although the legal limit for blood alcohol content is .08 percent, even one drink can impair a driver’s judgment and reaction time significantly. Of the 429 DUI-related fatality crashes reported by the NHTSA, 101 were caused by a driver with a BAC below .08 percent.
According to the NHTSA, speeding is one of the biggest contributors to motor vehicle crashes. More than 30 percent of Illinois’ 2013 crashes were speed-related. Speed limits are set based on road type, traffic flow and many other considerations. Driving too fast can cause many risks, including the following:
- Reducing steering ability
- Lowering the amount of reaction time available
- Extending the stopping distance needed
A Chicago car accident attorney understands that vehicle and road safety features are not as effective when a crash occurs at higher speeds. The NHTSA considers an accident to be speed related if a driver in the crash receives a traffic ticket for speeding.
Distracted driving behaviors
More attention has been given to driver distraction lately because of the prevalence of crashes involving the use of electronic hand held devices. Distraction occurs whenever an individual does not completely focus on the task of driving. Illinois has recently banned driver use of all hand held electronic devices in the hopes that increased penalties and awareness will lower the number of crashes.
Motor vehicle crashes often have devastating results. Injuries, permanent disabilities and fatalities may leave a family without a wage earner, creating significant financial hardship as well as loss of quality of life and pain and suffering. A Chicago car accident attorney may be able to help victims receive compensation to ease the financial burden caused by a careless driver.