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Illinois death toll from 2014 car accidents down from 2013

The final numbers are not in, but it looks as if the death toll from car accidents in Illinois in 2014 was down from the year before.

According to the state's Department of Transportation, an average of 782 accidents occurred every day in Illinois in 2013, with nearly 1,000 people dying, the highest number since 2008. However, as of late December 2014, the state's traffic deaths totaled 898, or 67 fewer than at the same point in 2013. Experts think the decrease may have been weather related; the state's roads were drier in November and December 2014 than in the same months in 2013. Experts also expect accident numbers and deaths to increase as the economy improves, gas prices continue to fall and more people opt to drive more miles.

The 2013 figures showed that more than two people were killed in automobile accidents every day, and more than nine people sustained injuries every hour. Although motorcyclists were involved in only one percent of all crashes in the state, they accounted for 16 percent of all fatalities. The numbers continue a general downward trend; in 2004, the number of fatalities was above 1,300. Beyond the loss of life, more than 285,000 accidents statewide cost $5.47 billion in 2013, according to the National Safety Council.

Cook County itself saw approximately 48 percent of all car crashes in 2013, with 250 people losing their lives, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. In Chicago, accidents killed 130 people, 34 of them pedestrians and three of them bicyclists.

A significant number of accidents included at least one driver who was negligent. Because fatal accidents can mean substantial financial difficulties for the family of someone killed, family members should be advised of their rights to take legal action against a negligent driver.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Traffic accidents on the rise in state, to almost 800 a day," Jon Hilkevitch, Dec. 23, 2014

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