Highway fatalities are on the rise in Illinois. It was in 2010 that the number – 911 – was below 1,000 for the first time since 1924, but ever since, the number has been rising. It was 918 in 2011, 957 last year, and is so far 973 this year.

The reason: Miles driven during the recession and its aftermath were flat or even down; the gradual economic recovery has put more people on the road, driving more. “Anytime when you’re talking highway safety you see an increase in vehicle miles travelled, that exposure goes up, and the likelihood of crashes, and all too often fatal crashes, does increase,” said Shannon Alderman, alcohol program coordinator for IDOT.


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Alderman says there is still ground to be gained in increasing seat belt use, especially at night, and reducing drunk driving.

About 40 percent of fatal crashes involve a drunk driver.  (SOURCE: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

(Copyright WBGZ Radio / www.AltonDailyNews.com)