SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — It’s possible that Illinois might end the year with around 50 fewer vehicle crash deaths than last year — part of a continued downward trend for such numbers, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Last year, 1,031 people died in crashes across the state. Current totals of crash fatalities sit at 965 — 53 fewer than one year ago.
Officials would like to see that number stay low, which is why IDOT, Illinois State Police and local units are increasing patrols until January 2. The focus of the increased holiday police presence on roadways includes targeting impaired drivers.
“The holidays should be a time for celebrating and making memories, not tragedy and loss,” said Cynthia Watters, IDOT’s bureau chief of Safety Programs and Engineering. “With all the festivities, it is essential to plan for a sober ride home before the celebration begins. To help save
lives, law enforcement will be cracking down on those who choose to drive impaired.”
Estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show the number of Illinois alcohol-impaired fatalities decreasing after rising in 2016 and 2017.
According to NHTSA, 309 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in Illinois in 2018, down from 336 and 357 deaths in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Seat belt offenses, speeding and distracted driving are also targets of the increased police enforcement efforts.