Chicago Department of Transportation commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld announced Chicago on-street traffic death numbers for 2017, based on preliminary crash data from the police department. Total traffic deaths rose significantly last year, up from 119 in 2016 to 132 in 2017. This is in line with a national rise in traffic fatalities, blamed on more driving due to cheap gasoline and the improving economy, an increase in cell phone use by drivers, and other factors.
In particular, the number of people in cars who died in Chicago crashes spiked dramatically, from 63 in 2016 to 80 in 2017 — a 27 percent increase. This was well above the average number of Chicago motorist fatalities from 2011 to 2015 of 65.8 deaths, based on official crash data from the Illinois Department of Transportation.
The number of Chicago pedestrian fatalities also rose last year, from 44 in 2016 to 46 in 2017. This was also higher than the five-year average for Chicago pedestrian fatalities of 38.2 deaths, based on IDOT numbers.