Illinois has some of the safest roads in the country. So what’s everyone else doing wrong?

June 29, 2017

Overall, the U.S has a pretty poor track record when it comes to the safety of its roads. But some of that is just due to the sheer amount Americans drive. A study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute found that between 2006 and 2010, the average U.S. driver logged about 10,000 miles. Compare that to the United Kingdom, which went nearly half that distance during that same time period. As a result, our road-related fatalities are much higher, with almost 140,000 people dying behind the wheel every year.

However, safety also differs from state to state. It turns out, Illinois has a stellar road safety record, according to The State of Safety report released by the National Safety Council (NSC). The report uses a grading system to rank states based on policy and laws pertaining to key safety issues. See the video below to learn more about the NSC’s grading system.

We’ve looked at the list’s top 10 and bottom 10 states when it comes to road safety. To get a little more familiar with the NCS’s criteria, we’ve included a list of terms they consider during their assessment. Take a look and see where Illinois ranks.

Vulnerable road users:  Are pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists safe on the road? There were more than 11,000 fatalities for vulnerable road users in the U.S. in 2015. The NSC wants states to require motorcyclists and young bicyclists to wear helmets and require pedestrians to stop in an uncontrolled walkway.

Alcohol-impaired driving:
Drunk driving crashes account for about 10,000 traffic fatalities each year, which is almost one-third of all roadway deaths. The NSC is looking for states to implement sobriety checkpoint programs, ignition interlocks for all first-time and repeat DUI offenders, administrative 90+ day license revocation for drivers who test above a .08 blood-alcohol content level, and a ban on open containers for drivers and passengers.

Child passengers:
An average of three children younger than 12 are killed in traffic crashes every day. About 30 percent aren’t buckled up. NSC is looking for states to pass laws that require keeping children under the age of two rear-facing, placing children in a proper child restraint and addressing children left in hot cars through legislation.

Distracted Driving: Things like texting or talking on your cellphone contributed to 3,477 deaths in 2017. The NSC is looking for states to implement a total ban on cellphones as well as a texting ban for all drivers.

Older drivers:
Although older drivers make up about 7 percent of two-car crashes, they are more likely to be seriously injured or killed than any other age group. The NSC wants states to require in-person license renewal for older drivers and allow for a board of medical professionals to advise licensing for drivers on an individual basis.

Seat belts:
Around 90 percent of Americans buckle up, and in 50 percent of fatalities occur among people who are unbuckled. The NSC hopes states will maintain primary seat belt laws and require seat belts on schools buses.

Speeding:

More than 9,500 people are killed in speed-related incidents every year. But they’re not just costly when it comes to lives. In 2010, speeding-related crashes cost the economy about $52 billion. The NSC wants states to adopt automated enforcement of speeding or red light cameras, create an urban interstate speed limit of 55 mph and lower the speed limits in school zones.

Teen drivers: Car crashes are the number one killer of teens, claiming more lives than suicide and homicide. The NSC wants states to pass tighter restrictions on youth drivers such as instituting 10 p.m. driving curfews as well as putting in at least 50 hours of supervised driving time before getting their full license.

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51. Montana

  • Grade: F
  • Alcohol impaired: Off track
  • Child passengers: Off track
  • Distracted driving: Off track
  • Older drivers: Off track
  • Seat belts: Off track
  • Speeding: Off track
  • Teen drivers: Developing
  • Vulnerable road users: Off track
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50. South Dakota

  • Grade: F
  • Alcohol impaired: Developing
  • Child passengers: Off track
  • Distracted driving: Developing
  • Older drivers: Off track
  • Seat belts: Off track
  • Speeding: Off track
  • Teen drivers: Off track
  • Vulnerable road users: Off track
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49. Missouri

  • Grade: F
  • Alcohol impaired: Developing
  • Child passengers: Off track
  • Distracted driving: Off track
  • Older drivers:  On track
  • Seat belts: Off track
  • Speeding: Off track
  • Teen drivers: Off track
  • Vulnerable road users: Off track
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48. Arizona

  • Grade: F
  • Alcohol impaired: On track
  • Child passengers: Off track
  • Distracted driving: Off track
  • Older drivers: On track
  • Seat belts: Off track
  • Speeding: Developing
  • Teen drivers: Off track
  • Vulnerable road users: Off track
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47. Wyoming

  • Grade: F
  • Alcohol impaired: Developing
  • Child passengers: Off track
  • Distracted driving: Developing
  • Older drivers: Off track
  • Seat belts: Off track
  • Speeding: Off track
  • Teen drivers: Developing
  • Vulnerable road users: Off track
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46. Idaho

  • Grade: F
  • Alcohol impaired: Developing
  • Child passengers: Off track
  • Distracted driving: Developing
  • Older drivers: Developing
  • Seat belts: Off track
  • Speeding: Off track
  • Teen drivers: Developing
  • Vulnerable road users: Off track
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45. Mississippi

  • Grade: F
  • Alcohol impaired: On track
  • Child passengers: Off track
  • Distracted driving: Developing
  • Older drivers: Off track
  • Seat belts: Off track
  • Speeding: Off track
  • Teen drivers: Off track
  • Vulnerable road users: Off track
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44. Florida

  • Grade: F
  • Alcohol impaired: On track
  • Child passengers: Developing
  • Distracted driving: Off track
  • Older drivers: Developing
  • Seat belts: Developing
  • Speeding: Developing
  • Teen drivers: Developing
  • Vulnerable road users: Developing
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43. Nevada

  • Grade: F
  • Alcohol impaired: On track
  • Child passengers: Off track
  • Distracted driving: Developing
  • Older drivers: Off track
  • Seat belts: Off track
  • Speeding: Off track
  • Teen drivers: Developing
  • Vulnerable road users: Off track
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42. Ohio

  • Grade: D
  • Alcohol impaired: On track
  • Child passengers: Off track
  • Distracted driving: Developing
  • Older drivers: Developing
  • Seat belts: Off track
  • Speeding: Developing
  • Teen drivers: Developing
  • Vulnerable road users: Off track
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Now, for the top 10 states with the best roads

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10. Georgia

  • Grade: B
  • Alcohol impaired: On track
  • Child passengers: Off track
  • Distracted driving: On track
  • Older drivers: On track
  • Seat belts:  Off track
  • Speeding: Off track
  • Teen drivers: Developing
  • Vulnerable road users: On track
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9. Washington state

  • Grade: B
  • Alcohol impaired: On track
  • Child passengers: Off track
  • Distracted driving: On track
  • Older drivers: Developing
  • Seat belts: Developing
  • Speeding: Developing
  • Teen drivers: Developing
  • Vulnerable road users: Developing
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8. Indiana

  • Grade: B
  • Alcohol impaired: On track
  • Child passengers: Off track
  • Distracted driving: On track
  • Older drivers: On track
  • Seat belts: Developing
  • Speeding: Off track
  • Teen drivers: Developing
  • Vulnerable road users: On track
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7. Maryland

  • Grade: A
  • Alcohol impaired: On track
  • Child passengers: Off track
  • Distracted driving: On track
  • Older drivers: Developing
  • Seat belts: Developing
  • Speeding: Off track
  • Teen drivers: Developing
  • Vulnerable road users: On track
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6. West Virginia

  • Grade: A
  • Alcohol impaired: On track
  • Child passengers: Off track
  • Distracted driving: On track
  • Older drivers: On track
  • Seat belts: Off track
  • Speeding: Developing
  • Teen drivers: Developing
  • Vulnerable road users: Developing
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5. Maine

  • Grade: A
  • Alcohol impaired: On track
  • Child passengers: Off track
  • Distracted driving: On track
  • Older drivers: On track
  • Seat belts: Developing
  • Speeding: Off track
  • Teen drivers: Developing
  • Vulnerable road users: Developing
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4. Delaware

  • Grade: A
  • Alcohol impaired: On track  
  • Child passengers: Off track
  • Distracted driving: On track
  • Older drivers: On track
  • Seat belts: Developing
  • Speeding: On track
  • Teen drivers: Developing
  • Vulnerable road users: Off track
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Washington DC

  • Grade: A
  • Alcohol impaired: On track  
  • Child passengers: Off track
  • Distracted driving: On track
  • Older Drivers: Developing
  • Seat belts: Developing
  • Speeding: On track
  • Teen drivers: Developing
  • Vulnerable road users: On track  
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2. Louisiana

  • Grade: A
  • Alcohol impaired: On track
  • Child passengers: Off track
  • Distracted driving: On track
  • Older drivers: On track
  • Seat belts:  On track
  • Speeding: Off track
  • Teen drivers: Developing
  • Vulnerable road users: Developing
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1. Illinois

  • Grade: A
  • Alcohol impaired: On track  
  • Child passengers: Off track
  • Distracted driving:On track
  • Older drivers: On track
  • Seat belts: Developing
  • Speeding: Off track
  • Teen drivers: Developing
  • Vulnerable road users: Off track
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