IDOT Secretary Announces 2nd Consecutive Year Illinois Experienced Less Than 1,000 Roadway Fatalities

SPRINGFIELD–(ENWESPF)–February 16, 2011.  The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Illinois State Police (ISP) today announced that Illinois experienced fewer than 1,000 traffic fatalities in 2010 for the second straight year – reflecting record two-year lows for the state dating to 1921.  Data from IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety shows Illinois experienced 911 fatalities from motor vehicle crashes in 2009. In 2010, preliminary numbers report 923 fatalities from motor vehicle crashes took place on Illinois roadways.

“IDOT is encouraged by this historic accomplishment, but understands that continued perseverance and hard work are essential to maintain or decrease the number of traffic fatalities in years to come,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig.  “In recent decades, the goal of achieving fewer than 1,000 roadway fatalities in a state of this size was considered impossible, but now it is reality.  We commend the efforts of our partners, as we spotlight the numerous effective programs administered by IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety and our partner agencies.  We also applaud motorists’ continued efforts to drive safely and comply with highway safety laws in Illinois.”

IDOT has implemented numerous life-saving awareness, training and engineering programs to dramatically improve safety in Illinois.  Some of the traffic safety initiatives administered by IDOT include: the Operation Teen Safe Driving, Motorcycle Safety, Impaired Driving, Work Zone Safety, Motor Carrier Safety and Occupant Protection programs.  In addition, IDOT has continued to forge strategic partnerships with state and local law enforcement departments to boost the number of patrols around holiday mobilizations, increase visibility, decrease drinking and driving occurrences and increase safety belt usage statewide.

“The Illinois State Police is proud to continue its partnership with the Illinois Department of Transportation and law enforcement agencies to help reduce traffic crash fatalities. We remain committed to improving safety on Illinois roadways, and will utilize all available resources to provide safety education programs which promote safe driving habits,” said Interim Director Patrick E. Keen. “Although it is difficult to attribute the reduction of traffic crash fatalities to a single factor, there is no doubt that the combined efforts of law enforcement personnel, the Illinois Department of Transportation and our private partners have significantly contributed to saving lives. With the continued support and cooperation from the motoring public, we can help keep the momentum going for years to come.”

In 2009, the state of Illinois continued to become a safer place to travel in motor vehicles as a result of successful efforts to improve traffic safety.  Illinois finished the year with 911 fatalities. Motorists wearing safety belts in 2009 reached an all-time high with a 91.7 percent usage rate.

In 2010, Illinois experienced one of its best years on record concerning roadway fatalities and injuries.  Traffic safety statistics are moving in the right direction, the first time since 1921 that Illinois has had two consecutive years with less than 1,000 traffic fatalities.  Additionally, the safety belt usage rate increased to a record-breaking 92.6 percent in 2010 contributing to the reduced fatality rate.

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