Car Crash Facts & Figures in Illinois

Car accident in Waukegan

Illinois is home to nearly 10 million licensed drivers, and hundreds of people are seriously or fatally injured in car crashes in the state every year, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Below, Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C. takes a closer look at Illinois car accident statistics and examines the facts and figures surrounding these preventable tragedies.

Car Crash Facts and Figures in Illinois

According to data from the Illinois Department of Transportation:

  • There were 9,186,641 licensed drivers operating 11,704,038 registered motor vehicles in the state in 2018.
  • 319,146 crashes occurred that year, equivalent to 874 crashes per day.
  • 94,164 injuries were sustained in crashes, more than 10 injuries every hour.
  • 21.1 percent of all crashes were injury crashes, while less than 1 percent were fatal crashes.
  • Approximately 3 Illinois residents were killed each day as a result of car crashes.
  • 13.4 percent of crashes involved A-injuries, which are the most severe types of physical crash-related injuries. 
  • 1.6 percent of all crashes involved pedestrians, and less than 2 percent of crashes involved bicyclists or motorcyclists.
  • 3.8 percent of all crashes, 3.1 percent of injury crashes, and 11.1 percent of fatal crashes involved tractor-trailers.
  • 2 percent of all crashes, 1.7 percent of injury crashes, and 1.8 percent of fatal crashes occurred in work zones.
  • 79.3 percent of fatal crashes occurred on dry roads, and 43.1 percent occurred during daylight hours.

Why Do Car Crashes Happen in Illinois?

Accidents can happen for a variety of reasons, and many occur as a result of numerous factors. However, researchers typically assign a single “critical reason” to each crash, which describes the “last event in the crash causal chain.” The most common critical reason for automobile crashes in the United States is driver error, which reportedly causes as much as 94 percent of all accidents.

While Illinois does not publish exact data regarding the prevalence of driver errors in our state’s annual crash reports, recent U.S. statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveal:

  • Driver recognition errors, such as improper judging of distances or speed, accounted for 41 percent of all critical reasons for crashes in the U.S.
  • Driver decision errors, such as speeding, accounted for 33 percent.
  • Driver performance errors, such as overcompensation or loss of control, accounted for 11 percent.
  • Of the remaining crash-related critical reasons, 2 percent were related to vehicle component failure, and another 2 percent were related to environmental factors like inclement weather.

In Illinois specifically, reports from the Department of Transportation do show that drunk driving and speeding are two particularly common causes of motor vehicle crashes:

  • 27 percent of all fatal crashes in 2018 involved alcohol.
  • 36.5 percent of drivers who were killed in motor vehicle crashes tested positive for alcohol consumption with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least 0.01.
  • 42.2 percent of the pedestrians killed in car crashes tested positive for a BAC of 0.01 or greater.
  • 18.8 percent of the bicyclists killed in car crashes tested positive for a BAC of 0.01 or greater.
  • 37.6 percent of the motorcyclists killed in car crashes tested positive for a BAC of 0.01 or greater.
  • 13.3 percent of the teen drivers who were killed in car crashes tested positive for a BAC of 0.01 or greater.
  • 33.7 percent of all crashes in 2018 involved drivers who were speeding.
  • 36.1 of fatal crashes and 38.2 percent of injury crashes that year involved excessive speeding.

10 Deadliest Counties for Illinois Drivers

Statistics released by the Illinois Department of Transportation indicate the 10 deadliest counties for Illinois drivers:

  • #10 – McHenry and Peoria Counties: These counties are tied as the 10th most deadly for Illinois drivers, with 19 fatal crashes each throughout 2018. McHenry County had 4,909 total crashes that year, while Peoria had 4,586.


  • #9 – Sangamon County: This area in central Illinois saw 20 fatal crashes in 2018, as well as 1,140 injury crashes and 5,101 total crashes.
  • #8 – Winnebago County: This northern county was home to 26 fatal crashes, 1,444 injury crashes, and 6,417 total crashes throughout 2018.
  • #7 – Kane County: Northeastern Kane County saw 27 fatal crashes in 2018, as well as 2,914 injury crashes and 11,009 crashes overall.
  • #6 – St. Clair County: This area in southwestern Illinois saw 30 fatal crashes in 2018, as well as 1,660 injury crashes and 6,275 total crashes.
  • #5 – Madison County: This southwestern county was home to 31 fatal crashes, 1,379 injury crashes, and 5,681 total crashes throughout 2018.
  • #4 – DuPage County: Northeastern DuPage County saw 34 fatal crashes in 2018, as well as 4,832 injury crashes and 20,788 crashes overall.
  • #3 – Lake County: This area at the northeastern-most corner of Illinois saw 38 fatal crashes in 2018, as well as 3,437 injury crashes and 14,054 total crashes.
  • #2 – Will County: This northeastern county was home to 52 fatal crashes, 3,405 injury crashes, and 15,000 total crashes throughout 2018.
  • #1 – Cook County: This county contains the Chicago metro area, one of the most populous regions in the U.S. Cook County saw a staggering 162,527 total crashes in 2018, including 248 fatal crashes and 31,404 injury crashes, making it the most dangerous county for Illinois drivers by a wide margin.



Injured in a Car Crash? Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Today

Proving negligence after a car crash can be complex. It takes time and the dedication of attorneys who have the proper experience and resources. Our attorneys have the skills to demand full compensation for you. Contact Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C. for a free, no-obligation case review. 

Infographic of the 10 Deadliest Counties for Drivers in Illinois