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New Data Reveals That Chicagoland Is Becoming A Safer Place To Drive

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) issued a report this month detailing the analysis of highway safety and crash data for the years 2002, 2005 and 2008, and the results show a promising decrease in the number of vehicle-related injuries and deaths.

The Highway Traffic Safety Data Overview for Metropolitan Chicago is CMAP's report on the traffic safety trends for the counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will. The data is used by the Illinois Department of Safety to create initiatives to enhance the safety of the state's roads and highways. The full report can be found on the CMAP website, but some of the significant highlights are listed below.

  • The total number of motor vehicle injuries and fatalities in the region fell 12.5 percent from 2002 to 2005, and 18 percent from 2005 to 2008. In 2002, there were a total of 86,485 injuries and fatalities; that number fell to 62,219 in 2008.
  • Fatalities alone decreased 30.5 percent for the years 2005 to 2008, from 629 fatalities to 437.
  • DuPage County had the lowest amount of fatalities per population in the time span studied; suburban Cook County and Lake County had the second lowest.
  • Nearly 25 percent of the motor vehicle fatalities in the city of Chicago involved pedestrians.
  • Areas that registered with the highest amount of fatalites were those counties with "substantial rural road infrastructure", particularly McHenry, Kane, Will and Kendall counties.
  • Fatality rates were higher in rural counties, but non-fatal injury rates were much higher in urban counties.
  • There were a total of 310,001 vehicle crashes in the area in 2002, and 606 of those crashes involved fatalities; in 2008 there were a total of 284,889 crashes, and only 409 were fatal.
  • In 2008, 35.8 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in the area happened between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • In the city of Chicago, 46 percent of all of motor vehicle fatalities in 2008 occured between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Despite the overall higher numbers of fatalities between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., that time period comprises only 11 percent of driving hours.

CMAP attributes the decrease in motor vehicle injuries and fatalities to increased safety efforts, like seatbelt laws and roadside sobriety checks, and also newer vehicles with effective safety features.

In addition to data included in the report on the CMAP website, the Chicago Tribune published the findings in a recent article that also quotes CMAP officials on what more needs to be done to further reduce vehicle-related injuries and fatalities in the area.

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