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2013 auto accident rate down in Cook County, up in midstate

The Illinois Department of Transportation's traffic fatality report shows Chicago and Cook County are on target to finish the year with fewer traffic deaths than the two previous years. Cook County's 2013 fatalities stood at 183 in early November; 91 were in Chicago.

Last year, Cook County recorded 252 deaths due to auto accidents and 215 in 2011. Chicago had 109 traffic fatalities in 2012 and 134 the previous year. Fatal crashes in the immediate area appear to be on the decline, while the opposite is true in the mid-state.

District 8 of the Illinois State Police, with five-county coverage in the Peoria area, reported a significant upswing in 2013 traffic deaths. Traffic accidents claimed 30 lives in the region this year, seven more than during the same period a year ago.

State troopers are concerned about a spike in deadly crashes among motorcyclists and city drivers. Ten fatalities this year occurred on municipal roads, with the majority in Peoria. Five of seven traffic deaths in the city were accidents involving single, speeding vehicles.

By October, fatal motorcycle accidents in District 8 had already surpassed the seven deaths recorded in 2012. Eleven fatalities were on the books, as the motorcycle riding season was winding down. Troopers noted victims were not stereotypically young, inexperienced riders but motorcyclists older than 30.

Peoria County had the highest, regional auto accident death rate with 16 fatalities, three higher than last year during the same time. Tazewell County's crash death rate more than doubled from one year to the next -- nine fatalities by October, compared to just four last year.

The informative reports have not generated any official, new approaches to Illinois accident prevention.

Statistics show accident patterns that may prompt local or state governments to reconstruct roads or traffic rules. When poor road designs contribute to fatal collisions, governments may be responsible for compensating accident victims.

Source:, "Police concerned about sharp spike in regional traffic fatalities" Matt Buedel, Oct. 24, 2013

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