Chicago and Cook County, like the rest of the nation, has seen fatal car crashes decline slightly over the last few years. Of course, any progress toward reducing the number of deaths in auto accidents is positive. The heartbreaking reality is that hundreds of people each year lose their lives in Chicago car accidents. Those hundreds of death wind up affecting hundreds of more people whose lives are forever altered by the loss of their loved ones. Holidays, birthdays, weddings, graduation, births, all of the joys people experience in life are not as joyous as they might otherwise be because a relative perished in a Chicago auto collision.
As of mid-March, 2019, 42 people have died in Cook County auto accidents according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. The current pace, although tragic on a case-by-case basis shows promise that 2019 might not be as deadly as the previous two years. In 2018, 267 people died in car crashes, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and truck accidents in Cook County. In 2017, 288 people died in Cook County vehicular crashes.
People die in motor vehicle crashes for a variety of reasons. Some deaths are entirely preventable. That is why all motor vehicle occupants must wear a seatbelt. The greatest chance of surviving a severe car crash is to stay in the car. The frame of the vehicle and all of its safety features protect the occupants. However, all bets are off when someone is ejected from the vehicle because he or she was not wearing a seatbelt.
The onus is not entirely on the victim to protect himself or herself. Fatal crashes caused by intoxicated drivers, distracted drivers, or speeding drivers are preventable as well. There is no excuse for driving after alcohol consumption or taking drugs. Similarly, there is no excuse for looking at a cellphone, texting, emailing, or using a cellphone app while driving.
Furthermore, drivers need to be more careful. Numerous fatal accidents may be prevented if motorists slow down, obey the rules of the road, and drive defensively rather than aggressively and carelessly.