Indiana and Illinois are among the top five states with alarming increases in the number of fatal traffic accidents in the past two years. Indiana has seen a 33% increase; Illinois has experienced a 24% jump. For details, read our previous post.
More and more, driving in our part of the country is dangerous. It’s also a national trend that has many experts concerned, though other states and communities do not have as high a risk as we do, according to statistics coming from the National Security Council and the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration.
White House Issues Call to Action to Help Find Answers to Growing Crisis
The rising number of deaths due to motor vehicle accidents is so significant in this country that the White House has taken what it calls an “unprecedented” step. Late last month, it issued a “Call to Action,” asking for input from the public.
Organized through the Department of Transportation, this is an effort to get information and suggestions from across the country into why this problem is happening and what can be done to stop it.
Supporting this effort is data is provided at the Department of Transportation’s web site. This includes the NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).
“Despite decades of safety improvements, far too many people are killed on our nation’s roads every year. Solving this problem will take teamwork, so we’re issuing a call to action and asking researchers, safety experts, data scientists, and the public to analyze the fatality data and help find ways to prevent these tragedies.”
Among the issues that they are asking be addressed:
- How might improving economic conditions around the country change how Americans are getting around?
- What models can we develop to identify communities that might be at a higher risk for fatal crashes?
- How might climate change increase the risk of fatal crashes in a community?
- How might we use studies of attitudes toward speeding, distracted driving, and seat belt use to better target marketing and behavioral change campaigns?
- How might we monitor public health indicators and behavior risk indicators to target communities that might have a high prevalence of behaviors linked with fatal crashes (drinking, drug use/addiction, etc.)?
- What countermeasures should we create to address these issues?
In our last post, we discussed how people are talking about things from road debris (from AAA) to distracted driving and cheaper gas prices as being contributing factors to the rising number of traffic deaths. We’ve also voiced concerns here over drowsy driving and speeding as causes of fatal crashes.
Now, the Obama White House has issued its Call to Action for the country to work together to discover why this is happening and how we can stop it.
How Can You Avoid a Fatal Traffic Accident in Indiana and Illinois?
Knowing the danger of being killed while driving is high and presumably will remain a high risk in the near future, how can those living and working in Indiana and Illinois stay safe?
Since we are in two of the most dangerous states for fatal traffic accidents, what steps can we take to avoid a fatal crash?
After all, Illinois is expected to hit an 8 year high in traffic fatalities this year – and Indiana has many more fatal motor vehicle accidents than Illinois according to the fatality data.
It’s important that we do what we can to keep safe and to protect our loved ones from this danger. In their release, “Motor Vehicle Deaths Increase by Largest Percentage in 50 Years,” the National Security Council advises the following:
- Make sure every passenger buckles up on every trip;
- Designate an alcohol and drug-free driver or arrange alternate transportation;
- Get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue;
- Never use a cell phone behind the wheel, even hands-free;
- Stay engaged in teens’ driving habits, as teens are three times as likely to crash as more experienced drivers; and
- Learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them. [The site] My Car Does What can help drivers understand features such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning systems and backup cameras.
We can also advise that drivers in Indiana and Illinois discuss the high risk we face when driving in this area. Make sure your loved ones understand how important it is that they drive defensively.
For instance, be aware of dangerous intersections and roadways that are found on your routes to work, school, or home and consider re-routing. Recognize that rural roads are more dangerous for fatal accidents than urban ones. And consider that some counties are reporting higher fatality rates than others in Indiana and Illinois.
The Five Most Dangerous Counties in Illinois and Indiana For a Fatal Car Crash
From NHTSA data we know that the following counties were the Top Five in each state with the highest number of motor vehicle fatalities:
St. Clair County
Injury Claims and Wrongful Death Lawsuits After Fatal Traffic Accidents
The causes of fatal motor vehicle accidents are varied. It has been our experience that each accident is unique and deserves independent analysis and consideration in order to find the true cause (or causes) of the deadly crash.
There are laws on the books in both Indiana and Illinois to help those who are victims of these kinds of serious accidents as well as their grieving family members. Damages include coverage of medical expenses, long term care, pain and suffering, loss of income, and more.
However, the better thing obviously is for these accidents NOT to happen. These motor vehicle accidents are almost always entirely preventable. It is horrific to discover that someone’s failure to get their tires checked, or to slow down, or to turn off their phone, or to pass on that drink, resulted in negligence and death.
We must all work together to reverse this trend. Let’s be careful out there!