Traffic deaths in Chicago surged last year: Here’s why

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For multiple reasons, the amount of time people spent on the road and the number of miles they drove in 2020 was sharply reduced when compared to 2019. On the flip side, however, traffic fatalities in Illinois surged.

According to the Metropolitan Planning Council’s director, Illinois had more traffic fatalities in 2020 than in any of the previous five years. Chicago saw a particularly dramatic spike in traffic deaths, which shot up 45% between 2019 and 2020.

The rise in fatalities seems counterintuitive

Instinctively, you’d probably assume that traffic fatalities would go down when there are less people out there on the road. However, the sharp uptick in traffic deaths clearly illustrates a major problem that is seen everywhere in the country (to greater and lesser degrees).

Reckless drivers, especially those inclined to take risks and travel at high speeds, are behind the vast majority of traffic fatalities. When a lot of businesses were shut down and people were staying home and working remotely, the drivers who were out on the roads sped up.

However, experts say that drivers aren’t solely to blame for this phenomenon. The design of many streets encourages drivers to go faster than the posted limits. Since a lot of drivers tend to gauge their speed by the surrounding traffic (instead of the posted signs), the relatively open roads may have accidentally led more drivers to speed.

Your best defense against an accident with a speeding driver is to be on your guard and practice defensive driving. If you are injured in a crash caused by another driver, make sure you take immediate steps to secure your financial future.