Here Are the Four Main Causes of Illinois Vehicle Accidents
The Fatal Four Plus One - Dangerous Roadways
Labor Day 2011 is now a fading memory and law enforcement officials can breathe sighs of relief. Because people are more likely to drink and drive during holiday weekends, Illinois police fought back, stepping up their enforcement of DUI laws during this traditionally heavy-drinking weekend.
The Fatal Four
Police also pay special attention to traffic violations such as speeding and failure to use seat belts. Last year, Illinois State Police issued tickets for the following offenses during the four-day weekend:
- Speeding (4,707 tickets)
- DUI (67 tickets)
- Seat belt violations (1,699 tickets)
- Distracted driver violations (27 tickets)
These four violations, known as the Fatal Four, are particularly deadly on secondary roads, which may not be designed to carry the level of traffic common during holiday weekends. In addition, they may have built-in defects that make the consequences of an accident more serious. Usually two lanes, these secondary roads carry only 28 percent of the traffic in the United States, but account for more than half of the fatal accidents.
Two-Lane Roads More Dangerous
According to Gerald Donaldson of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, these two-lane roads are particularly dangerous because of poor sightlines and narrow lanes. Speaking with NBC's "Dateline" in 2005, he said, "There is no margin for error on those roads." In 2009 on National Public Radio, he said, "A two-lane rural road is six to eight times more dangerous than an interstate."
The Worst Roads in Chicago
Numerous city streets in Chicago and its suburbs are listed on the riskyroads.org website. West Division Street, near State Route 50 on the way to River Forest, is a two-lane road that has logged numerous fatalities in recent years. The area around North Pulaski Road at West Chicago Avenue, which includes both two- and four-lane roads, is equally deadly. The city streets where the Dan Ryan Expressway (Interstates 90 and 94) crosses Garfield Boulevard have seen more than their fair share of accidents.
Interstates Not Exempt
One road in Chicagoland has made the list of the top 20 most dangerous roads in America: Interstate 94. In May 2010, the Illinois stretch of I-94 was listed as the seventh most dangerous interstate in the United States by thedailybeast.com, and "Dateline" reported the Cook County section of I-94 to be one of the leading roads for drunk driving fatalities. The Circle Interchange, where I-94, I-90 and I-290 meet, is reported on trucking websites and other lists to be one of the worst in the country. Fortunately, there are fewer fatal accidents than one might expect, as the average speed of traffic on this stretch of road is 11 mph.
For more information about dangerous roads in Illinois and their role in personal injury cases, contact a knowledgeable attorney.