Traffic deaths rise sharply in 2015


The number of people killed in motor-vehicle crashes increased by 8 percent in 2015, the highest percentage increase in 50 years, according to a new report by the non-profit National Safety Council.

In Illinois, 1,017 people died in motor-vehicle crashes, a twelve percent increase over 2014, when 910 people died in crashes, according to the report.  

Among the leading dangers on streets and highways is distracted driving, according to several sources including trucking industry veteran John Smith who coordinates CDL training at Richland Community College.

"We see it, every turn we make: someone is either texting or talking, not paying attention," Smith said. "They literally have their phone right up in front of their face. Very dangerous."

Smith said motorists who are too tired to drive are another danger. He said obeying speed limits and avoiding driving in close clusters of vehicles can help reduce dangers on the road.

The National Safety Council sites increased driving spurred by lower gasoline prices as one potential cause of the increase in fatalities in 2015.

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