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Illinois traffic fatalities up this year

December 25th, 2012 at 5:09 am

Traffic fatalitiesTraffic fatalities on Illinois roads have been on the rise this year, with the number at about 937 so far. This has prompted the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Toll Way to urge drivers to be safe as millions of motorists hit the roads for the holidays.

The Illinois Toll Way alone, expects 15.7 million vehicles on the toll way system during the Christmas and New Year holidays. This includes the weekend before Christmas all the way through January 2.

Over the last three years, traffic fatalities have been under 1,000, according to Josh Kauffman, spokeman from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).

That figure has been the lowest since 1921, said Kauffman.

That number, however, has been on a steady increase this year, he said. Last year, there were only 813 deaths.

He said that there are a number of reasons why fatalities are increasing including a higher number of travelers, bad weather, distracted driving, and impaired driving. Speeding, texting while driving, and seat belt use can also be named as causes for the increased number of fatalities, he said. Kauffman added that often, it’s a combination of those factors.

IDOT has a few campaigns, including Click It or Ticket, aimed at improving safety. The department also uses dynamic message boards on the roads that remind drivers of the dangers of texting and driving and speeding. These boards also update the number of fatalities, said Kauffman.

The latest campaign is Driving Zero Fatalities to Reality. Posting the number of fatalities on the message boards is part of the efforts. The message can translate to positive behavior and defensive driving. There is also increases state and local police traffic enforcement during the holiday season.

Driving Zero Fatalities to Reality was successful during the Thanksgiving holiday which saw a 63 percent decrease in deaths, according to IDOT. There were only three motor vehicle fatalities and two crashes during the four-day holiday weekend, compared to eight fatalities and seven crashed in 2011.

The Toll Way is also warning drivers to be extra safe during the holidays. Illinois Toll Way Executive Director Kristi Lafleur said that cell phone distractions were the primary or secondary cause in 1,130 vehicle crashes of 2011.

If you have found yourself in trouble from a traffic violation this season, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley in Rolling Meadows to defend you. These traffic attorneys can help you stay out of trouble this holiday season, but remember to drive safely.

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Written by Staff Writer

December 25th, 2012 at 5:09 am

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