State targets reduction in Illinois traffic deaths as holidays approach

The state of Illinois has launched a new campaign aimed at reducing the number of fatalities on Illinois roadways this year by at least 100.

The Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois State Police announced Operation Save 100 began Thursday and will run through the end of 2009, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Chicago injury lawyers and wrongful death attorneys at Abels & Annes published a report last week at Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog taking a look at the 1,043 fatal Illinois car accidents last year.

That represents a 1.6 percent decrease from the year before, and the lowest fatality rate since 1923, but state officials want to best it by saving at least 100 lives and bringing this year’s total to 943 or less.

While there appears to be a high chance for success — 781 died on Illinois roads through last week compared to 883 during the same period last year — November and December are traditionally two of the deadliest months of the year as holiday travelers, drunk drivers and winter weather converge to increase driving hazards.

Saving 100 lives would also save $100 million — the state estimates each road fatality costs about $1.2 million.

“We continue to put our best efforts forward and work to save more lives every day,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig. “We have a wonderful partnership with Illinois State Police in this effort and we are doing everything possible to keep Illinois drivers safe behind the wheel.”

Operation Save 100 began Thursday Nov. 12 and runs through the end of the year. During the 8-week campaign, more than 400 law enforcement agencies are being asked to enhance operations and provide weekly activity and crash reports.

The campaign will be augmented by television and radio interviews, press releases, news conferences and other community action statewide.

Illinois traffic fatalities have been declining, from 1,248 in 2007 to 1,043 last year. Nationwide, 37,261 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Last year, Illinois was one of only 10 states to log more than 1,000 traffic deaths, according to government statistics.

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in an accident, the Chicago car accident lawyers and wrongful death attorneys at Abels & Annes offer free appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.