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IDOT To Continue Displaying Traffic Fatality Figures On Highway Signs

An IDOT message board displays the number of people killed in car crashes in Illinois in 2012. (Credit: Bernie Tafoya/WBBM Newsradio)

An IDOT message board displays the number of people killed in car crashes in Illinois in 2012. (Credit: Bernie Tafoya/WBBM Newsradio)

tafoya250 Bernie Tafoya
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CHICAGO (CBS) – There were 957 people killed on Illinois roads last year and, if you drive Illinois expressways and tollways, no doubt you’ve noticed the traffic fatality counts climbing since the summer on IDOT message boards.

That’s going to continue in 2013.

John Weber, Director of Traffic Safety for the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), said IDOT officials knew they had to do something last spring when traffic fatality numbers, by May, were 65 over 2011′s numbers during the same period.

Weber said 2012 ended with 39 more traffic deaths in Illinois than in 2011.

He said most people are in favor of putting the fatality counts in front of drivers, and that even people who didn’t like the idea, at first, eventually realized it made them think more about safety when they were behind the wheel.

Weber said he doesn’t know if the slowdown in the rate of traffic deaths in the state between June and the end of the year is the result of the message board death counts making drivers more cautious, but he said it certainly didn’t hurt.

The trend, he said, has continued into 2013. Weber said there have been three traffic deaths in the state so far the first week of this year, compared to 12 the first week of last year.