As many would suspect traffic is way down during the Covid-19 shutdown. There have been an estimated 70% less Chicago car accidents since the shelter in place order began in mid March. This comes as no surprise due to the lack of motorists on the road. Regardless, according to the Northwestern University Transportation Center (“NUTC”), we have seen an increase in the severity of Chicago car crashes.
According Northwestern’s study, found that after the stay-at-home order went into effect, the percentage of incapacitating or fatal crashes ticked up. “You had so much less traffic,” said NUTC Director Hani Mahmassani. “That was so unusual. You’re so used to driving very slowly on Chicago streets, so when you had that, people’s natural instinct was to speed up.”
Chicago and the state of Illinois are not alone with these numbers According to the National Safety Council (“NSC”). “In some states, anywhere from 50% to 70% less miles (are driven), but the fatalities are up,” said NSC President and CEO Lorraine Martin. “We really need to get to the root cause and understand what the behavior is that’s causing this kind of disturbing spike in very severe crashes.”
Why the increase in traffic fatalities and severe injuries? The NSC believes drivers feel at liberty to drive at excessive speeds as very few others are on the road. Local Chicago officials believe they have seen an uptick in speeders since the shutdown. The Chicago Department of Transportation warned of a 14% of increases speeders on city roadways. The Chicago Police Department and Illinois State Police said they’ve increased visibility and have some targeted patrol efforts. But Martin says road safety doesn’t just fall on law enforcement.
Even if there are less drivers on the road, it is important to stay vigilant and aware of others on the road. There are many who believe they can speed and drive recklessly when no one else is out there.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.
There is encouraging news in Chicago traffic news. Traffic fatalities are down 30% in the city compared to this time last year. There were 108 traffic deaths through October 2018 compared to 77 so far this year.
This is good news for the city and particularly the cities’ transportation department which implemented “Vision Zero,” a plan aimed to eliminate all traffic fatalities in Chicago by 2026. Vision Zero’s plan includes changing intersections to make them safer, road user education and improving transit use in high crash areas, is an international road safety project.
The plan is also using used crash data to identify high-crash corridors and areas, which were prioritized for safety improvements. The areas include downtown Chicago and seven neighborhoods, such as Belmont-Cragin on the Northwest Side and Englewood on the South Side.
I don’t think anyone can say at this point what has caused the decrease in traffic deaths. I think we all hope that the money and time spent by Vision Zero is making our streets safer. I think a more detailed look at the data on the type and location of the traffic accidents will help us answer those questions. Let’s hope this trend continues.
If you or a loved one has been seroiusly injured in a Chicago truck accident or Chicago car crash, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J . Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.
I have written on this blog multiple times about Chicago’s Vision Zero. It is a traffic safety plan implemented by outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanual who’s goal was to eliminate all pedestrian traffic deaths by 2026. Part of the plan has been the implementation of speeding cameras, larger and more visible cross walks with traffic stop signs and designated bicycle lanes. Vision Zero was off to a rocky start as last year alone saw an uptick in Chicago pedestrian fatalities. Traffic safety might be improving.
According to Block Club Chicago, a local online news source, pedestrian deaths have decreased in so far this year compared to data collected from this time last year.
Between Jan. 1, 2018, and May 31, 2018, 20 pedestrians were killed in Chicago. During the same period in 2019, only 12 people on foot were killed in crashes, according to data presented last week to the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council. Chicago Dept. of Transportation Assistant Commissioner Sean Wiedel called that very encouraging news.
So far, no specific data or studies have been provided to the press explain the decrease in deaths. The article points to the increased number of vehicles on the roads, higher speed limits and a growing number of drivers and those on foot distracted by cell phones and other electronic devices as the main causes for the uptick in pedestrian deaths in recent years. I would like to see what the numbers are by the end of the year to see if any of the policies implemented by Vision Zero could explain why the numbers decreased this years. I would also like to know if new mayor, Lori Lightfoot, plans to keep Vision Zero a priority for the city. Regardless, this is encouraging news, and we can only hope that the numbers continue to decrease the rest of the year and years to come.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago traffic accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.