Traffic fatalities on the rise in Illinois - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Traffic fatalities on the rise in Illinois

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WSIL -- The number of people killed in deadly crashes in Illinois has been on the rise for several years, according to data from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

In addition, at least a dozen more traffic fatalities have occurred this year than at this point in 2016.

One of the most recent deadly crashes occurred on Wednesday morning on I-57 in Union County. It claimed the life of three people, including a 3-month-old infant, and left a 25-year-old man in the hospital fighting for his life.

In the last two weeks, at least seven people died on Southern Illinois interstates. Four of those deaths occurred within the span of two hours.

Last year, 1,079 people died on Illinois roads, which is 161 more deaths than occurred in 2011, state data shows.

A county-by-county breakdown shows that so far this year, seven people died on the road in Union County; five in Williamson County; and four each in Franklin, Jefferson and Perry Counties. Three people died on the roadway in Jackson County so far this year.

Safety experts blame several factors, including higher speed limits, more young drivers behind the wheel and a lot more distractions. 

A recent National Safety Council survey found nearly two-thirds of drivers are comfortable speeding.. and nearly half are comfortable texting.

Lt. Michael Alvey, with Illinois State Police, has some advice.

"First and foremost, obey the speed limits. Put the cell phone down," said Alvey.

The number of people of who died on Illinois roads fell slightly in 2014,  before rising again the next year.

The National Safety Council says nationwide more than 40,000 people died on roadways last year.

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