Chicago, as well as the rest of the nation, is confronting a deadly side-effect of the COVID-19 pandemic – speeding motorists. Across the country, drivers are exceeding the speed limit in record numbers, posing a fatal threat to other motorists and putting themselves at greater risk of being involved in a devastating car accident.
A pandemic in the streets
The Wall Street Journal reports the nation’s drivers developed a bad habit during the peak of the epidemic – speeding. With less traffic on the roads, they had no reservations about driving faster, often in excess of 100 mph. Despite fewer motorists, motor vehicle fatalities totaled about 42,000 people in 2020, an increase of 8% over a year earlier.
Chicago saw an alarming 45% increase in traffic fatalities from 2019 to 2020. The Chicago Department of Transportation reported 139 people were killed in 2020, compared to 96 the year before.
An analysis by the WSJ shows the number of cars exceeding the speed limit by 20 mph or more in Chicago is far higher than pre-pandemic levels. In response, the city is issuing speed camera tickets to drivers who break the speed limit by at least 6 mph, down from the previous benchmark of 10 mph.
What Chicago is experiencing is part of a tragic nationwide trend that has caught the attention of traffic safety officials from California to New York City. They note that speeding drivers are more likely to lose control of their vehicles, leading to dangerous, high-impact crashes. Their concern is heightened by the fact that the country is entering the busy summer driving season.
Don’t take offense – practice defense
Speeding drivers are everywhere, not to mention dangerous. You have no control over them, but experts advise you to protect yourself by practicing defensive driving:
- Drive safely yourself.
- Speeders love to tailgate to intimidate you, so move over to let them pass whenever possible.
- Keep an eye on your blind spots because speeders often seem to appear out of nowhere.
- Be aware of their blind spots, too, as speeders like to frequently switch lanes (often with little or no signal warning).
- Always use your own turn signal to alert other motorists when you are going to turn or change lanes.
- Watch the traffic flow for patterns. Is one lane or a particular vehicle moving slower? If so, a speeder may cut you off to maneuver ahead.
- Practice extra patience in congested areas, during rush hour, and at holiday times.
- Always assume the worst of speeding drivers. They often run yellow (or even red lights), barely slow down for stop signs, and pass other motorists illegally.
After an accident, get help fast at Coplan & Crane
If you have been injured or a loved one died in a car accident caused by a speeding driver, you have recourse under Illinois law to hold the at-fault party accountable for your losses. Depending on the specifics of your case, you may be able to recover compensation for your current and future medical bills, lost income from missed work, loss of earning capacity, replacement services, your pain and suffering, and other applicable damages.
At Coplan & Crane, our highly skilled attorneys are dedicated to representing accident victims in Chicago, Oak Park, and throughout the Midwest. Our law firm has the experience and resources to protect your rights and fight for every dollar you deserve — whether it’s in settlement negotiations or in court in front of a judge and jury.
Don’t let the insurance company downplay or deny the severity of your claim. See what an experienced car accident lawyer can do for you and contact us right away to arrange a free consultation.