Speed and distracted driving are causing a rise in Illinois road deaths despite a decrease in national car accident fatalities. Road deaths in Illinois are up by four percent in the first six months of 2017.
Rising Road Deaths in Illinois
According to the National Safety Council, auto accident fatalities have risen by four percent in the first six months of the year, despite the fact that national auto fatalities have fallen by about one percent. In Illinois, more than 500 people have been killed on state roadways and highways since January, in comparison to an estimated 18,680 traffic deaths across the entire country. Studies by the National Safety Council reveal that increased speed limits and distracted driving are causing a rise in road deaths seen by an Illinois accident lawyer.
The maximum speed limit on most interstate highways around the country is 65 mph. In 2014, Illinois raised its maximum speed limit on rural interstates to 70 mph, while the maximum speed for four lane divided highways was left at 65 mph, and 55 mph for all other highways. The National Safety Council and Illinois Department of Transportation have reported a jump in traffic fatalities in areas where the speed limit was raised to 70 mph.
Currently, a proposed Senate bill is looking to raise the speed limit on Illinois interstates and highways again to 75 mph on Interstate 80 and all interstates south of Interstate 80, as well as Interstate 355, and all interstates west of Interstate 355. The bill will also raise the maximum speed outside urban districts from 55 mph to 60 mph on all highways that are not interstate and streets and roads that do not have four or more lanes of traffic.
Distracted driving is the leading cause of auto accidents in the United States. Studies show that drivers continue to get distracted behind the wheel by talking or texting on cell phones, taking dashboard videos and selfies, eating and drinking, playing with the radio, reading GPS monitors, and self grooming. Distracted driving is a growing concern, especially with younger drivers under the age of 24 and teenage drivers who have little experience behind the wheel. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers. In 2015, approximately 2,500 teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 were killed and over 220,000 were treated in emergency departments for serious injuries.