The combination of highway traffic congestion and winter weather in densely populated urban regions such as Chicago and the poor road conditions in some parts of rural Illinois can make driving in Illinois a hazardous task.
And in spite of the implementation of highway safety programs such as Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, Don’t Text and Drive, and Click It or Tick It, car accidents are causing injuries and claiming lives every day in Illinois. In fact, motor vehicle crash statistics indicate that the number of car accidents, fatalities, and injuries in Illinois have been on a steady increase since 2014.
If you or a loved one has been in a car crash, it is possible to get compensation for your damages. Thus, it is imperative that you let car accident lawyers evaluate your situation and assist you in understanding your legal options.
Illinois Fatal Crash Data
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) recently released some of their data which revealed that 2016 was the most dangerous year for drivers in the state since 2008. This monumental increase in traffic fatalities is being attributed to the high-speed limits on rural interstates, the increasing number of teen drivers on the road, and widespread incidences of distracted driving.
The fatalities listed by IDOT include those of motor vehicle drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians. In 2016, IDOT revealed that there were a total of 1,080 traffic-related deaths with 1,001 being fatal crashes in Illinois. Cook County registered the highest number of motor vehicle fatalities where 136 people got killed.
Motor Vehicle Crash Injuries
The Illinois Crash Facts & Statistics report of 2014 revealed that more than nine people got injured per hour in car crashes during that year. Moreover, IDOT does not only record the number of injuries, but it also looks at their severity. As such, injuries are usually categorized into Type A, B, and C, with Type A being the most severe.
Type A injuries refer to non-fatal injuries where the person afflicted is no longer able to resume the activities they could do prior to the accident. The Type A injury is typically severe and includes abdominal, skull, and chest injuries, as well as fractures.
The total number of car crashes in 2014 was 296,049, which resulted in 84,652 injuries. Out of these injuries, 11,755 were categorized as Type A, which accounted for 13.9% of all injuries. Also, the most common type of motor vehicle crashes to result in accidents were the rear-end collisions.
The Most Common Causes of Car Accidents
• Impaired driving. Out of the 845 fatal accidents in 2014, 30.4% involved alcohol.
• Aggressive driving.
• Adverse weather conditions.
• Drowsy driving.
• Distracted driving.
• Not observing traffic signals and laws.
Fatal Crashes and Higher Speed Limits
On the 1st of January 2014, the state of Illinois raised the speed limits on most rural interstates from 65 mph to 70 mph. However, immediately after this change was implemented, there was a significant increase in motor vehicle deaths. In fact, most fatal crashes in the state occur on rural roads. This has led to safety experts questioning whether this change was the reason behind this increase in fatalities.
Additionally, Illinois seems to have a disproportionate amount of speeding-caused fatal crashes as compared to the national average. About 39% of fatal car crashes in Illinois between 2013 and 2015 were as a result of speeding whereas the national average was 28% for the same time period.
Teen Driving Statistics
The increased number of teen drivers on Illinois roads is also believed to be a contributing factor to the recent spike in traffic injuries and fatalities in the state and the entire country as well. Driving teenagers (16-19) are more susceptible to distracted driving, and in fact, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among this age group.
The AAA undertook a study in 2015 where they discovered that distracted driving was a contributing factor in up to 58% of accidents involving teenage drivers. Cell phone use was found to be the next second most significant cause of distraction. As such, it is illegal for teen drivers in Illinois to drive during certain hours such as late-night while all other motorists are prohibited from using their mobile devices while driving.
The Need for Car Insurance
With the rising number of accidents, it is only safe to take a pro-active approach. You might adhere to all the rules, but who says other drivers will? As such, here is why you need auto insurance:
• To compensate you when someone else causes the accident
If you are the victim of a car accident caused by someone who has no auto insurance or who is underinsured, you may end up not being compensated because the at-fault party might not be in a position to compensate you. Your auto insurance might be able to cover your injury or other expenses.
• So you are able to compensate others for an accident you caused
Things happen, and you might find yourself being the involuntary perpetrator of a motor vehicle crash. And if you do not have car insurance, you will be the person on the wrong end of the lawsuit. This might force you to compensate the wronged pocket out of pocket. If you are unable to settle, your credit score might be adversely affected.
• To get your car fixed
No matter whose fault it is, if you have car insurance, your vehicle will get fixed. But if you do not and the other party decides not to compensate you, you will have to pay out-of-pocket for the repair.
• The law requires it
In a bid to prevent all the above from happening, all states mandate car insurance coverageThis way, everybody is protected from the risks that come with owning and driving a car.
Even the most cautious drivers can get involved in an accident. Thus, if you have received injuries due to another person’s reckless or negligent conduct, it is crucial that you speak with an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. They will ensure that you or your loved one get the compensation they deserve.
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