Car crashes can lead to fatalities. It’s a simple fact, but one that everyone should recognize. The number of fatalities may vary yearly but recognizing the causes could help you avoid being a statistic.
In 2022, there were 1,151 fatal crashes in Illinois, with almost 400 in the Chicago/Cook County area alone. Understanding how these crashes happened and what to do after a collision, is vital to safer driving.
The Illinois Department of Transportation tracks fatal crashes and prepares brief reports.
In 2022 in Illinois, the 1,151 fatal crashes cited above led to 1,269 fatalities. Of those fatalities, 190 were pedestrians, 166 involved semi-trucks, and 146 involved motorcyclists.
There were 33 fatalities in work zones, and 33 bicyclists were killed.
In 333 of the crashes, the victim was using some kind of seatbelt or restraint, but in 303 of the crashes, seatbelts were not used properly.
In 218 crashes involving fatalities, the driver was not properly licensed.
More cars were on the road in 2022 as more people returned to office work or going out on the town. With more vehicles on the road, there are greater chances for accidents and fatalities.
There were 399 fatal car crashes in Cook County in 2022, slightly less than 2021’s 457 fatal crashes.
Crash trends haven’t just increased in the Chicago area over the last few years. Around 9,560 people died from car accidents nationwide in just the first three months of 2022. That’s a 7% increase over the same period in 2021.
There has been an increase in crash-related fatalities in Illinois since 2019, when there were 1,010 fatalities in 938 crashes. Of those crashes, 315 fatalities used a seatbelt, 263 fatalities weren’t using a restraint, and 186 drivers were unlicensed.
Fatalities peaked in 2021, with 1,334 fatalities in 1,210 crashes. Of those crashes, 308 drivers were wearing seatbelts, and 337 weren’t wearing theirs properly. 283 fatal crashes involved unlicensed drivers.
In 2021, there were also more pedestrian fatalities than in the last five years, with 214. There were 175 pedestrian deaths in 2020, 170 in 2019, and 165 in 2018.
There were more semi-truck crash fatalities in 2022 than in prior years. In 2021, there were 128 fatalities involving semis, 122 in 2020, 116 in 2019, and 126 in 2018.
Motorcycle crash deaths also peaked in 2021, with 167 fatalities. There were 148 deaths caused by motorcycles in 2020, 137 in 2019, and 118 in 2018.
2020 had the most deaths in a work zone in the last five years, with 37. There were 24 work zone deaths in 2021, 33 in 2019, and 17 deaths in 2018.
IDOT tracked crashes on interstates, state or US routes, city streets, and county or township roads. There were no discernible trends in the last five years, although more deaths were reported on state and US routes or city streets annually.
In 2022, state routes saw the most fatal crashes, with 466 reported. City streets had the next highest number of deaths, with 419, and there were 191 deaths reported on interstates. There were 182 deaths on county or township roads reported.
In 2021, there were 545 reported fatalities on city streets, with 368 deaths on state or US routes, 204 interstate deaths, and 213 deaths reported on county or township roads.
In 2019, there were 371 deaths reported on state or US routes, with 316 deaths reported on city streets, 194 deaths on county or township roads, and 129 interstate highways.
In 2018, there were 384 deaths reported on state or US routes and 310 on city streets. There were 196 deaths on county or township roads and 145 deaths reported on interstates.
Between 2018 and 2020, the top causes of fatal crashes were:
Speeding — Around 39% of traffic deaths in Illinois were from driving too fast.
Drunk driving — Getting behind the wheel while intoxicated resulted in almost 27% of traffic fatalities.
Distracted driving — Not paying complete attention to the road resulted in over 12% of road deaths.
If you are in a car crash, some resources can help you heal physically and mentally.
Immediately after an accident, dial 9-1-1. However, if you don’t feel you are in an emergency, call the non-emergency number for local police. In Chicago, you can dial 3-1-1 or (312) 746-6000 to reach the Chicago communications center that dispatches police and other first responders.
If you need roadside assistance, call your insurance company and tell them where you are. They will find an in-network tow truck company and send it to you on I-190 Kennedy Expressway or whichever roadway you’ve crashed on.
If you have AAA, call them to use their emergency road service towing services. Their service is available 24/7 and can be reached at 800-AAA-HELP.
After a wreck, get emergency medical treatment right away. The best place you can get treatment after an auto crash is a Level I Trauma Center. These locations are specifically staffed and prepared to treat people with serious trauma, which is common in car accidents.
Level I Trauma Centers in the Chicago area include:
The officer who responds to the scene of your accident will file a report detailing what happened, citations that were issued, and witnesses at the wreck. Your attorney will need all of this information to determine who is at fault and who should be held financially responsible for your losses.
In Chicago, request a Traffic Crash Report online. You can also go to the Chicago Police Department Records Customer Service Section or call them at (312) 745-5130. They are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Reports cost $6.00 each.
Even if you went to the emergency room after your wreck, follow up with a primary care physician who can review your injuries in connection with all your prior medical history. If you don’t have a regular doctor, find one through Northwestern Medicine or UChicago Medicine.
If you are involved in a car accident, you need to speak with an attorney who can walk you through the next steps. Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. has helped multiple clients like you and will let you focus on getting back to your normal life.