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Illinois traffic fatalities down from last year

The Illinois Department of Transportation has published its fatal crash statistics for year-to-date 2014. So far, 572 people have died in accidents on Illinois roads. The good news is that this is down 83 from this time last year.

Interestingly, of the fatalities where the police were able to determine if the deceased person was properly restrained at the time of the crash, the numbers were about even. Of the cases where it could be determined, 173 were properly restrained, while 158 had no restraint or were not using it correctly. It was not reported how many of those were children who were required to be in child safety seats.

Another factor that IDOT looked at was the number of fatal crashes involving "unlicensed" drivers. This includes drivers with expired, suspended or revoked as well as those with no license at all. Of the 526 fatal crashes so far this year, only 72 (less than 14 percent) involved "unlicensed" drivers.

Not surprisingly, the counties that include and surround Chicago were among those with the highest number of fatalities. These include Cook, DuPage, Lake and Will counties.

The city of Chicago has had 76 fatalities so far this year. That's down from 132 at this time in 2013. Cook County as a whole saw a drop of more than 100. They had 250 fatalities by the end of Aug. 2013, but 148 as of Aug. 29, 2014

The two counties, St. Clair and Madison, that include East St. Louis and border St. Louis, Missouri, also had some of the highest numbers. However, our other downstate neighbors fared better. Peoria County had 13 fatal crashes and 13 fatalities. Sangamon County, home to the state capital, had 11 fatalities. Champaign County, which includes the main University of Illinois campus, had 12 deaths.

In all of the counties noted here, the number of fatal crashes and people killed was lower than at the end of Aug. 2013. That's good news for all of us who travel Illinois' roads. However, that's still a lot of people who have lost their lives in traffic accidents.

For too many people, the loss of a loved one in a car accident is the fault of someone else. Whether criminal charges are brought against the at-fault driver, they may want to consider civil action to help with the financial burdens and other damages.

Source: Illinois Department of Transportation, "Illinois Fatal Crash Data for 2014: A Snapshot View" Aug. 27, 2014

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