Traffic deaths are up in Illinois and across the country

Traffic fatalities are up in Illinois this year, leading to concerns about the busy summer driving season.

Last year was the seventh consecutive year that saw fewer than 1,000 traffic fatalities in Illinois, an achievement that was almost unprecedented in the modern era. However, as the Northwest Herald reports, 2016 is shaping up to be a much different story, with fatal traffic accidents spiking considerably this year when compared to last year. The unfortunate reversal in traffic safety this year is something that is being repeated across the nation as low gas prices, distracted driving and mild weather all take their toll.

Traffic fatalities up in Illinois

As Sauk Valley Media notes, the first half of 2016 saw a nearly eight percent rise in traffic fatalities in Illinois compared to the same period in 2015. That rise reflects an increase that has been seen lately throughout the country. Last year, for example, traffic deaths rose by 7.7 percent nationwide according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

While those increases are alarming in and of themselves, the situation is even worse for certain vulnerable road users. Motorcyclist deaths, for example, are up by nine percent across the country while pedestrian fatalities have increased by 10 percent. Cyclists, however, have been the worst hit: cyclist fatalities rose an alarming 13 percent across the U.S. last year.

Staying safe this summer

Warm weather and cheap gas, along with the growing problem of distracted driving, are being blamed for the increasing toll. Furthermore, with summer here and gas prices still low, there are likely to be even more serious accidents over the next couple months as more people get out and enjoy the nice weather. Summer tends to be especially dangerous since people are not only driving more, but they also may be driving for recreational purposes down roads they are not overly familiar with.

To stay safe, experts caution that drivers and passengers should always wear their seatbelts. In the first half of this year, for example, 112 Illinois traffic fatalities (out of 489 total) were linked to improper use of restraints. Driving sober and refraining from distracted driving, such as texting and driving, are also important steps for helping make the roads safer for everyone.

Help after an accident

A motor vehicle accident is a painful and unforgettable experience. Such accidents can lead to serious injuries as well as significant emotional and financial challenges for those involved. Fortunately, a personal injury attorney can help those who have been hurt in an accident. By offering qualified guidance during this difficult time, a personal injury attorney can show accident victims how they may be able to protect their rights, including by potentially pursuing financial claims related to their ordeal.