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Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on October 27th, 2014,
by Zane Cagle

Traffic Fatalities Down 30 Percent in Illinois

Posted on October 27th, 2014 by Zane Cagle

fatalities downAccording to an article in the Chicago Tribune, traffic fatalities have dropped  30 percent from 2005 to 2012 in Illinois. Nationwide, traffic fatalities dropped nearly 23 percent nationwide in the same time period according to a study by Michael Sivak of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI).  The study could only verify the percentages as full data was only available through 2012.

Why the decrease?

Increased Automobile Manufacturer Safety Measures

“The number of road fatalities had increased from the 1990’s to 2005”, said Sivak and thereafter there was a drop.  According to the research, the trend is largely due to safer vehicles.

“People are walking away from crashes that would have killed them 20 years ago,” says Russ Rader, spokesperson for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).  “Automakers are building better crush zones that dissipate energy from the occupant compartment, “said Rader. Regulations have improved on vehicle safety dating back to the 1960’s when the federal government required seat belts.  According to the National Safety Council, wearing seatbelts can reduce the risk of injuries by 50 percent.

“Electronic stability control (ESC) is a lifesaver”, says Rader. Mandated in all 2012 model year vehicles, ESC is based on antilock braking systems and continuously monitors how a vehicle is responding to a driver’s steering and acceleration. In the case of fishtailing, understeering or oversteering, ESC helps keep a vehicle on the path intended by its steering position. In essence, it takes over when you lose control”. “It prevents a lot of crashes that happen on slippery roads or in emergency situations, especially in preventing roll-over crashes, ” Rader explained.  “9 out 10 accidents are from drivers messing up”.

Driver Training and Policing

Graduated Driver’s Licensing

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White credits polices ranging from Graduated Driver’s License to cell phone bans in construction and school zones to making Illinois roadways safer.  White is the longest serving Secretary of State.GDL, which has reduced teen driving crashes 60 percent by make the licensing process more rigorous.


The Secretary of State introduced the Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) on first time DUI or DWI offenders.  Before a driver may start his/her car, the offender must blow into a breathalyzer equipped with a camera and the system may remain in the offender’s car for 3 to 12 months depending on the judge’s discretion.  According to statistics, there has been a 40 percent reduction in DWI and DUI since the policy was implemented in 2009, according to White.

Driver Safety Initiatives

The cell phone ban and seat belt enforcement is attributed for contributing to the lowered road fatality rate as well as red light cameras.  Even though many feel the red light cameras and speed detectors are controversial, they do work according to Radar.


“Every time there is a recession, traffic fatalities drop, ” said Rader.  When people are not working as much, they are not driving as frequently. Likewise, after a recession, traffic fatalities tend to increase, but Rader said he didn’t expect them to increase in the past due to all of the other efforts.

This study does not seem that surprising. Each time I shop for newer car, the number of safety features that have been added always surprise me, pleasantly.  As I see the consequences of car crashes every day, more auto safety features are always welcomed.  It is tremendous news that road fatalities are down!  However, we should not let up on safety reminders, initiatives, research and individual accountability.  Individually, we can make certain that we are attentive and never drive under the influence.  As distracted driving/inattentiveness is the number one cause of car crashes, each one of us can do our part by focusing on the roadway and refrain from using hand held devices such as phones and tablets.

Unfortunately, car crashes still occur every day.  Improvements by manufacturers, law enforcement and safety initiatives are not driver -error proof.  Individuals are seriously injured in auto accidents daily. If you have been in a car crash and are injured, you will most likely need legal representation. Our attorneys are expert car accident attorneys and represent clients in Missouri and Illinois.  If you have been in a crash or if you have a loved one that has been injured, contact our offices seven days a week for a free consultation. We can be reached locally (314) 276-1681 or toll free (314) 276-1681.