Drunken or impaired driving, speeding, distracted driving, and failing to wear a seat belt continue to kill people on northwestern Illinois highways.
Wednesday, the Illinois State Police released 2017 crash statistics for District #7. Troopers handled 431 crashes last year, with seven fatalities. That's about the same as the past several years (443 crashes and seven fatalities in 2016).
Trooper Jason Wilson says it took many years for people to change their attitudes about driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. "The National Safety Council estimates that next year, the number of fatalities from DUI will take a back seat to distracted driving."
In the US, the number of fatal crashes increased 14 percent from 2013 to 2016 (see pdf below). In part, Wilson blames drivers who pay more attention to electronic devices than driving. Every time people get behind the wheel, they should remember lives are on the line.
Last year, District #7 troopers arrested 2,483 drivers for speeding. More than 700 people got tickets for not wearing their seatbelts. And DUI arrests totaled 236.
The state police district includes Henry, Knox, Mercer, and Rock Island counties.