A staggering report shines a light on an alarming trend: The number of fatal car accidents has been climbing at a rapid pace over the past few years. In 2016, more than 40,000 people died in motor vehicle accidents – the most roadway fatalities in one year since 2007, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Drivers in the Chicago area know how dangerous the roads can be. In October, the Chicago Sun-Times reported on a serious crash involving a jackknifed semi-truck, a Department of Transportation vehicle and an Illinois State Police squad car. The driver working for the DOT was treated for injuries after the crash on the Kennedy Expressway near Addison.
The people involved in the Kennedy Expressway crash might consider themselves lucky to have escaped with their lives. More than 100 people die on U.S. roadways each day, according to the Tribune report. The number of fatal accidents increased 6 percent nationally in 2016 compared to 2015. The substantial spike in roadway deaths over the past two years has been the steepest in 53 years, according to the Tribune, which cited a report by the National Safety Council.
A closer look at the nationwide numbers
- 2016: 40,200 deaths reported
- 2015: 37,757 deaths reported
- 2014: 35,398 deaths reported
What are the reasons behind the rise in the number of motor vehicle deaths? More cars are crowding the roads, due in part to inexpensive gasoline prices, but NSC President and CEO Deborah Hersman downplayed this as a significant factor, according to the Tribune.
Hersman cited drivers who are distracted or operating while intoxicated as two of the biggest factors. An NSC poll of 2000 drivers found that 10 percent of them admitted to getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink. Nearly half of those polled – 47 percent – said they believed they could safely send text messages while driving. One-quarter of those surveyed thought it was OK to speed on streets in neighborhoods, and 16 percent fail to wear seat belts on every trip.
Each year on U.S. roadways, distracted driving is linked to about 3,000 deaths, a number that safety advocates say may be underreported because it’s difficult to prove someone was using their cellphone leading up to the crash.
How attorneys can help file a wrongful death claim
If you lost a loved one in a car accident in Illinois, you may be entitled to compensation. If the other driver was distracted, driving while drunk or exhibited some other type of negligent behavior, you should consult with one of our attorneys. We can help you weigh your options, which may include filing a wrongful death lawsuit to recover compensation for your losses.
Accidents can be complex, especially when someone is killed in the crash. Insurance companies may try to offer a quick settlement. In many cases, the settlement doesn’t begin to cover the full extent of the loss. That’s why it’s important to speak with an experienced attorney.
For a free and confidential consultation, contact Coplan & Crane by calling 800-394-6002 or filling out our online contact form.