Car accidents up in 2021 on the streets of Chicago and throughout Illinois

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The number of fatal car accidents in Illinois skyrocketed in 2021. Distracted driving has been identified as a key factor behind the increase in deadly crashes.

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, 1,317 people died in car crashes last year, the highest number of traffic fatalities in the state since 2005. The number could increase if more car accident victims from past collisions die while in the hospital. In contrast, fatal crashes decreased from 2017 to 2019.

In 2021 there were 461 traffic fatalities in Cook County, where Chicago is located. The number marks an increase from the 372 deaths in 2020.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus shifted away from preventing distracted driving and other dangerous driving behaviors. The number of fatal car accidents surged despite fewer drivers on the road.

AAA is urging drivers to practice safer driving behaviors in 2022. A spokesperson from the roadside assistance organization shared three safe driving tips: get rid of distractions, slow down and do not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Drivers should also check whether their prescription medications cause drowsiness, which can make it unsafe to drive. Sometimes seemingly simple or minor factors can play a role in causing car accidents. AAA reported that drivers who have gotten fewer hours of sleep than normal are four times more likely to be involved in a collision.

AAA research has found that drivers tend to underestimate the risk levels of certain behaviors when behind the wheel, such as texting while driving. Additionally, there is a misconception that hands-free phone systems are safer. According to the AAA spokesperson, they can be just as dangerous.

Chicago and other cities across Illinois can take steps to make their roads safer to reduce car accidents. Data reveals pedestrians are among the most at risk of getting into crashes on Urbana roads. Pedestrians made up around 50 percent of traffic deaths in the city in 2021. Local transportation activists claim pedestrians are more likely to get struck by a vehicle in Urbana than in Chicago.

Urbana is aiming to join the Vision Zero program, which requires cities to establish clear goals for reducing traffic deaths. Lowering speed limits can help prevent pedestrian accidents. According to an AAA report, a pedestrian is around 70 percent more likely to be killed in a collision if the driver is traveling 30 miles per hour compared to 25 miles per hour.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash, contact the Chicago car accident lawyers at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. We can help you pursue compensation for your medical bills, lost wages due to time off work, emotional distress and other costs. Call us for a free consultation to discuss your case.

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