SPRINGFILED, Ill. (AP) – Safety and insurance industry experts say Illinois traffic fatalities are expected to pass 1,000 this year for the first time since 2008 because of higher speeds, more miles driven and an increase in younger drivers on the road.
The State Journal-Register reports that 629 people had died in vehicle, motorcycle, pedestrian and bicycle crashes in Illinois this year as of Friday. The number is up 50 from the same period in 2015.
In 2015, there were a total of 998 traffic fatalities, which was the highest number since 1,043 died in 2008.
Ken Kolosh, statistics manager for the Itasca-based National Safety Council, says much of the rising toll has been on rural interstates.
Illinois raised speed limits on rural interstates from 65 mph to 70 mph at the beginning of 2014.