In 2020, the number of vehicle miles traveled dropped significantly in the United States. At the same time, the traffic fatality rate increased significantly, according to preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The jump in traffic fatalities especially impacted Chicago, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation. From April through November 2020, traffic fatalities in the city rose by 44% from the same period in 2019. Specifically, there were 98 traffic fatalities on Chicago streets during that period in 2020, while there were only 68 in 2019.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was believed that the roads would become safer with fewer people traveling. The opposite has occurred, however. Safety advocates blame the lack of traffic congestion for the rise in the traffic fatality rate. That’s because more drivers have taken the opportunity to travel at dangerous speeds when there is less traffic.
Traffic fatalities trending upward in Chicago
According to an article in StreetsBlog, the rise in Chicago’s traffic fatalities was a problem before the pandemic. For example, crash data from the Illinois Department of Transportation showed a significant increase in traffic fatalities from 2010-2019. The 5-year average for road deaths increased from 401 in 2014 to 471 in 2019. Serious injuries and fatalities involving pedestrians and bicyclists fluctuated each year, but the 5-year average gradually increased by more than 6% from 2012-2019.
While state and city officials are federally mandated to take measures to reduce traffic fatalities, they haven’t met their targets. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is establishing the Regional Traffic Safety Agenda to deal with speed management along with pedestrian and bicyclist safety. This includes improved infrastructure, education, enforcement of traffic laws, and increased emergency service. Additionally, CMAP will consider equity, climate change, and public health to address travel concerns after the pandemic. The StreetsBlog article also suggests that state and city officials consider adding speed cameras to better enforce the posted speed limits.
Attorneys serving injured motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists in Chicago
Chicago’s streets and roads can get chaotic. The car accident attorneys at Coplan + Crane often see people sustain injuries linked to speeding, distracted driving, impaired driving, and aggressive driving. Motorists, pedestrian, and bicyclists who survive these collisions often spend several months recovering from:
- Traumatic brain injuries, including concussions
- Severe bone fractures
- Neck, back, and spine injuries, including whiplash
- Sprains, tears, and other soft tissue injuries
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Lacerations and burns
- Facial injuries
If you’ve been injured in a crash, knowing which course of action to take can be confusing. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will likely contact you looking for a recorded statement. They may even offer you a quick lowball settlement to close out your case as quickly and cheaply as possible. It’s critical that you don’t speak to them or accept a settlement without first consulting with an attorney. That’s because insurance companies will only pay a small fraction of your total losses if you don’t know your rights.
You need a strong legal advocate on your side who will conduct a full investigation and place an accurate value on your case. Our legal team will also deal directly with the other driver’s insurance company and fight to help maximize your compensation. To get started on your claim, contact us online or call our law office for a free case evaluation.