Looking for ways to make Illinois roads safer

The rise in fatal car crashes is starting to get official attention. Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn says he will convene a safety summit later this year to try to find ways to address the growing problem.

Last year, 1,098 people died in Illinois motor vehicle wrecks. Just two years ago, the figure was below 1,000. The numbers are “going in the wrong direction,” Blankenhorn said recently.

He said he expects to have community leaders at the safety summit, along with transportation experts, traffic engineers and others. It should be noted that Illinois is not the only state struggling with an increase in fatal car accidents.

The National Safety Council says more than 40,000 people were killed in traffic crashes last year – a 6 percent rise from 2015 losses.

The numbers aren’t improving in 2018 either. As of early May, 325 people have died in crashes on Illinois roads, streets and highways. That figure includes 46 pedestrians and three bicyclists, a newspaper article stated.

The upward trend reversed an earlier decline in fatalities. From 2000 to 2013, traffic deaths dropped 31 percent. That decrease was attributed to widespread seatbelt usage and consistent, dedicated enforcement of drunk driving laws.

Many experts blame the surge in traffic fatalities to several factors, including distracted driving and a frustration with traffic congestion that makes some drivers become aggressive.

We hope Blankenhorn and others will find ways to make traffic flow more efficiently and safely.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a motor vehicle wreck, speak with a lawyer dedicated to fighting for maximum compensation in personal injury litigation.