Crashes occur due to a combination of factors related to the roadway user, the vehicle, and the roadway. All of these factors must be considered when developing projects or programs with the intent to enhance safety and reduce fatalities and serious injuries. The department's safety related initiatives were developed and are refined with this in mind and are consistent with the Strategic Highway Safety Plan. The information is categorized by activities in Engineering, Education, Enforcement, Emergency Services and Evaluation for your convenience. The goal is not only to showcase how we work to fulfill our mission, but also to demonstrate how all of our partners and stakeholders can get involved and partner with us to Drive Zero Fatalities to a Reality.
To view summary crash data reports, please navigate to Illinois Roadway Crash Data.
Engineering activities focus on improving roadway attributes to address driver expectation and behavior and the overall safety performance of a roadway.
The SHSP focuses around 10 emphasis areas. Engineering solutions span across the emphasis areas but specifically focus on: Intersections, Roadway Departures, Work Zones, and Vulnerable Users.
Please click HERE for the document “Illinois Improves Transportation Decision Making Through Safer Roads Index (SRI) Ratings and Safety Tiers”.
Crashes, and ultimately the severity of a crash, are a result of contributing factors related to the driver, vehicle type and size, and roadway. Roadway safety infrastructure improvements can impact driver behavior and the effects of a vehicle operating on the roadway to affect the overall frequency and severity of a crash. Engineering safety analysis determines those roadways with a higher potential for safety improvement, roadway features that pose a higher risk for severe crashes, and potential safety countermeasures that can be implemented. IDOT continually evaluates safety performance of a roadway and can implement roadway safety infrastructure improvements at any point in the transportation management process.
Implementation is achieved through several avenues including in-house forces for simple improvements, broader construction projects addressing other roadway needs such as pavement surface improvement, and specific highway safety improvement projects. This allows IDOT to maximize its safety efforts across the entire public roadway system. Stand-alone infrastructure safety improvements are funded through the core federal program, the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), which is specifically focused on reducing fatality and serious injuries on all public roads. To learn more, please navigate to the Highway Safety Improvement Program webpage.
The department conducts Roadway Safety Assessments (RSA), a formal safety performance review by a multi-discipline independent team. This occurs periodically on both state and local roadways to evaluate the safety performance of a roadway and identify low cost, easily implemented safety strategies ranging from infrastructure improvements to targeted enforcement efforts. More often, a less formal roadway safety review (RSR) is appropriate and can include the roadway owner on the review team. To learn more, please navigate to the Roadway Safety Assessment webpage.
Each year, hundreds of fatal wrong-way driving (WWD) crashes occur across the United States, and thousands of injuries are reported in traffic crashes caused by wrong-way drivers. Although WWD crashes have been a concern since the advent of access-controlled, divided roadways, the problem persists despite efforts to address it over time.
Please click here for the document “Guidelines for Reducing Wrong Way Crashes on Freeways”
Please click here for the R27-090 Phase 2 Report “Investigation of Contributing Factors Regarding Wrong-Way Driving on Freeways, Phase II”
Roadway and intersection features such as the number and width of traffic lanes including turn lanes, the presence of shoulders as well as the type and width of shoulders, median width, traffic control devices, pavement markings, roadside hardware devices and traffic volumes all can either contribute to the enhanced safety performance of a roadway or increase the risk of severe crashes and add to the potential for safety improvement. With Roadway Departure and Intersections as emphasis areas in the Illinois SHSP, opportunities to eliminate these types of severe crash through engineering safety analysis and roadway safety infrastructure improvements are pursued. The department has implemented strategies such as:
Median Cable Rail. Median crossover crashes are a form of roadway departure crashes and occur when a motorist leaves the lane of travel, crosses the divided median, and hits an approaching vehicle head-on. The installation of median cable rail is a crash tested roadside hardware device that has been extremely effective at reducing the occurrence of median crossover crashes. See the attached fact sheet and video for more information.
Centerline and Shoulder Rumblestrips/Rumblestripes. Roadway departure crashes that are a result of distracted, fatigued, and impaired driving can be reduced with the installation of both milled-in centerline and shoulder rumblestrips/rumblestripes. The vibration and resulting noise when a vehicle hits the rumblestrips alerts the driver if leaving the lane of travel and if in the case of crossing the roadway centerline, centerline rumblestrips.
Chevrons and Advanced Warning Signs. Curves represent 10 percent of the total severe injury and fatal crashes in Illinois and over 30 percent of the roadway departure crashes. The installation of chevrons and advance warning signs guide motorists through curves, and are even more effective at night and can potentially reduce these severe crashes by 40 percent. Systemic safety improvements that address multiple locations on the roadway network across the state have been effective, particularly on lower volume rural roadways.
Intersections are planned points of conflict on the roadway system. This includes U.S. and state highways, county roads, and local streets. Motorized and non-motorized users are crossing paths as they travel through or turn from one route to another. Intersections are a priority emphasis area in the Illinois SHSP and represent over 25 percent of the severe injury and fatal crashes on all public roads. Turning and angle crashes are the predominant type of severe crash occurring at intersections. Signalized intersections operate differently than unsignalized intersections and depending on if the intersection is rural or urban, unique challenges need to be considered. A wide variety of safety infrastructure strategies include alternative geometric designs and traffic control devices.
Flashing Yellow Arrows (FYA). Failure to yield to oncoming vehicles is a common cause of angle and turning crashes. The modification of traffic signals to include FYA provides more guidance to the motorist to allow for turning at an intersection while yielding to oncoming vehicles. The addition of FYA can improve the safety performance of an intersection by over 25 percent while maximizing the traffic flow through an intersection. See the attached fact sheet and video for more information. .
Roundabouts. Eliminating conflict points and reducing the vehicle speeds can significantly reduce severe crashes occurring at intersections. Roundabouts are an alternative geometric design that achieves this.
IDOT and local highway agencies work to maintain, operate, and expand the roadway system to provide the best travel for roadway users. This requires construction and maintenance on the system and the establishment of work zones periodically. The department has worked diligently to develop and implement traffic control standards that are consistent and can guide traffic through the work zone with the safety of the workers and the roadway users in mind. Unfortunately, distracted driving and speed continue to be the leading causes of work zone crashes and severe injury and fatal crashes in particular. These work zones do require more attention and slower speeds because of work crew exposure, changing conditions, potentially stopped traffic, and greater risk of being involved in a crash. We will continue to work with law enforcement and our industry safety partners to continue to improve upon work zones across the state and achieve zero fatalities and serious injuries in all work zones.
To view active construction sites, please visit the Work Zones webpage in Travel Information.
Want to learn more?
Pedestrians and bicyclists are roadway users at greatest risk to injury and death if hit by a vehicle and are considered vulnerable users in the Illinois SHSP. Many programs and initiatives are implemented to increase the safety of these vulnerable roadway users. Infrastructure safety improvements include items such as pedestrian countdown signals, improved traffic signal timing, sidewalks and bicycle lanes, enhanced crosswalks, and street lighting.
Safe Routes to School
The Illinois Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program is a federally funded program with the goal of enabling and encouraging children to walk and bike to school, making bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation alternative through various solutions including engineering. For more information on the program, please visit the SRTS webpage.
Educating roadway users on certain behaviors is one way IDOT works to achieve its safety mission. Please take what you learn here and share it with others.
Buckle Up Illinois
Occupant Protection is a priority emphasis area of the Illinois SHSP. Wearing a safety belt and being belted in a properly installed child safety seat can significantly reduce the potential severity of a crash and increase the chances of surviving a crash. IDOT's occupant protection programs are designed to ensure that drivers and occupants are aware of the importance of using safety belts, how to use them properly, and how to protect children using appropriate child passenger protection devices, particularly in air bag-equipped vehicles. IDOT works with safety partners to implement these programs. To learn more, please view the Buckle up Illinois website.
Impaired Driving is a priority emphasis area of the Illinois SHSP. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs effects a motorist’s judgment and ability to operate their vehicle safely. The objective of IDOT's Alcohol Awareness Program and initiative is to keep impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel. Fewer impaired drivers means fewer crashes, therefore resulting in fewer injuries and deaths. To learn more and to partner with us, please visit the Drive Sober Illinois website.
Drop it and Drive
With the increased use of technological devices available today, distracted driving has become a serious issue. The United States Department of Transportation’s, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that driver distraction from all sources contributes to 25 percent of all law enforcement reported traffic crashes. With the growing trend of severe crashes related to distracted driving and the focus on eliminating fatal and serious injury crashes, IDOT has worked with state legislators and law enforcement officials to establish distracted driving laws that ban texting and the use of hand-held mobile devices while driving on Illinois roadways. The law does make exceptions for hands-free devices, including those with headsets. Further, it is illegal for drivers to talk on a cell phone while driving through a highway construction work zone or school zone. To learn more, please visit the Drop It and Drive website.
Part of the Department's efforts to educate the public on traffic safety information is to staff booths at public venues. To view where IDOT Staff will be next, please visit the Events Calendar.
Share the Road (Start Seeing Motorcycles and Large Trucks)
Please visit our Share the Road webpage under Travel Information for more information on Sharing the Road with Illinois' many travelers.
Bicyclists are roadway users at greatest risk to injury and death if hit by a vehicle and are considered vulnerable users in the Illinois SHSP. It is important for motorists to be aware of these roadway users and use caution. It is equally important for bicyclists to obey the Rules of the Road.
Cycle Rider Safety Training
Recent economic factors have contributed to an increase in people choosing to ride motorcycles or scooters as a cost-effective mode of transportation. At the same time, motorcycle related traffic deaths and serious injuries have been continuing to increase annually and are considered as part of the Vulnerable Users in the Illinois SHSP. Due to multiple factors, as the number of new motorcycle operators increases, the likelihood of crashes increases as well. IDOT offers Cycle Rider Safety Training courses for riders of all skill and experience levels. These training courses are FREE to any Illinois resident 16 years of age or older who holds a valid automobile or motorcycle driver’s license or permit. Persons under 18 years of age must have written consent of a parent or legal guardian. To learn more about this program and motor cycle safety in general, please visit the Start Seeing Motorcycles website.
See Orange, Slow Down, Save Lives
In order to carry out IDOT's commitment of zero fatalities, it is vital to keep our motorists and workers safe on Illinois roadways. Work zones can be complex for motorists to travel through and the unexpected can occur. IDOT urges and encourages motorists to pay attention to workers in construction and maintenance work zones during normal work, nighttime and off-peak hours. Continuing efforts are made every day by IDOT and other partner agencies to reduce the death toll of workers including IDOT staff, construction workers, and emergency personnel on Illinois roadways. To learn more about Work Zone Safety and Scott’s law (the Move Over Law), please visit the Embrace the Orange website.
Every life is important and the loss of life is a tragedy that we at IDOT feel deep sympathy for. Our goal is to take efforts to bring increased awareness of actions that can be taken to keep these preventable crashes from occurring in the future. IDOT has established various memorial programs to make sure that that the individuals are not forgotten.
DUI Sign Memorial Program
The DUI Memorial Sign program was established to memorialize deceased victims of crashes caused by drivers found to be under the influence of alcohol, or other drug or intoxicating compounds, as well as to raise public awareness of the consequences of driving while impaired. To learn more about this program, as well as IDOT's other signing programs, please visit the Special Sign Programs webpage.
IDOT Employee Memorial
IDOT honors those who have died in the line of duty. A memorial was created not only to them, but as a reminder to all, that driving is not a right, it is a privilege. With privilege comes responsibility to others. Please take a moment to view IDOT’s Highway Employee Memorial page.
Daily Fatality Number
The traveling public is one of our largest and important safety partners in the efforts to eliminate traffic related fatalities and serious injuries in Illinois. Everyone can do their part to drive zero fatalities to a reality. IDOT displays the current fatality number on dynamic message signs and on its website to bring awareness to the number of lives lost on Illinois roadways. A key safety message tied to emphasis areas in the Illinois SHSP is displayed along with the daily fatality number.
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is a critical piece of roadway safety. Medical treatment prpovided shortly after a severe injury crash greatly increases the chance of survivability of serious injuries. EMS includes becoming aware of a crash, responding to the incident to provide medical treatment if necessary and traffic incident management to clear the scene and prevent secondary crashes from occurring, and linking the hospital data to crash reports to ensure the data used to direct resources is the best that it can be.
The SHSP focuses around 10 emphasis areas. EMS solutions span across the emphasis areas.
When a crash occurs, emergency medical first responders are immediately dispatched to the scene. Because the first hour following an injury is critical in the treatment of crash victims, the Illinois Yellow DOT program exists to help bridge that gap and provide first responders with critical information to improve emergency care for persons involved in vehicle crashes. To learn more about this life saving program, please visit the Yellow Dot website.
Enforcement of the traffic laws put into place to improve the safety of all roadway users on Illinois roadways is critical to eliminate traffic related fatalities and serious injuries. IDOT provides grants and works with its law enforcement safety stakeholders to ensure efforts are focused on priority emphasis areas and locations to have the greatest impact on safety. The various enforcement efforts and campaigns are tied to strategies identified in the Illinois SHSP. We do not specifically do enforcement….we support the ability of our safety stakeholders to do enforcement.
The SHSP focuses around 10 emphasis areas. Enforcement Activities span across the emphasis areas but specifically focus on: Alcohol and Impaired Driving, Occupant Protection, Driver Behavior and Awareness, and Large Trucks.
IDOT utilizes funding from a variety of sources both state and federal to provide state and local law enforcement agencies the ability to mobilize enforcement efforts.
In an effort to change driver and passenger behavior, IDOT, with funding from NHTSA, funds a number of law enforcement efforts with the Illinois State Police, county, and municipal law enforcement agencies to encourage people to Buckle Up, Drive Sober, avoid Distracted Driving, and use proper child restraint devices.
IDOT's highway safety funds are made available annually through NHTSA. Highway Safety Program grants ("Section 402") are designed to help state agencies, counties and communities initiate programs to address traffic safety related problems and generally to promote traffic safety on our roadways. If you are interested in learning more, please visit the Traffic Safety Grants website.
Automated enforcement uses cameras to capture images of vehicles and potentially the motorist committing a traffic law violation. The Illinois Vehicle Code allows for the following types of automated enforcement: Speed Enforcement by IDOT and ISP in work zones; speed enforcement in safety zones by Chicago DOT; Red Light Running (RLR) enforcement on state and local roads in 8 counties in the Metro East and Chicago area; railroad grade crossing gate violations; and school bus arm violations. Automated enforcement is intended to supplement traditional enforcement efforts and to assist in eliminating fatal and severe injury crashes and is part of the implementation of several emphasis areas within the Illinois SHSP.
Photo Speed Enforcement
Speed and distracted driving continue to be the leading causes of crashes in work zones. Photo speed enforcement in work zones was enacted into law to assist IDOT and Illinois State Police in its efforts to reduce the number and severity of crashes related to speeding in work zones. While work zone speeds and fines apply regardless of the presence of workers, photo speed enforcement can only be utilized when workers are present.
Red Light Running
Angle and turning crashes at intersections are the most severe. Running red lights contributes to these types of crashes. The Illinois Vehicle Code allows the following 8 counties to implement Red Light Running (RLR) Enforcement Systems: Cook, Lake, Kane, DuPage, McHenry, Will, Madison, and St. Clair. IDOT established a policy for local agencies to use when considering RLR cameras on state maintained routes. The policy can be found at the following here.
School Bus Arm Law
Pedestrians are considered vulnerable users. Children can be more at risk especially in school zones and areas where children are being picked up and dropped off by a school bus. The Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/11-1414) (from Ch. 95 ½, Par. 11-1414) enacts law, commonly referred to the “school bus arm law”, on how motorists shall approach, overtake, and pass school bus. Illinois law was recently passed that allows for local agencies to use automated enforcement for the violation of the school bus arm law.
IDOT administers motor carrier, hazardous materials and vehicle inspections (including school buses and trailers) compliance programs to further ensure safety on Illinois roadways.
Motor Carrier Program
The motor carrier program is a compliance program encompassing segments of an industry engaged in commercial vehicle operations in Illinois. This program conducts compliance reviews, safety audits and commercial motor vehicle inspections to attain an acceptable level of compliance with both state and federal motor carrier regulations. IDOT partners with the Illinois State Police to conduct the commercial motor vehicle inspections and public information and education outreach. To learn more information, please visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website.
The hazardous materials program is a compliance program encompassing segments of industry engaged in the shipment and highway transport of hazardous materials in Illinois to attain an acceptable level of compliance with hazardous materials transportation regulations. To learn more, please visit Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration website.
IDOT administers the vehicle inspection program to ensure that second division vehicles are in safe operating condition and that vehicle inspection stations and personnel comply with program regulations. Approximately 260 Illinois Official Testing Stations perform interstate and intrastate truck, trailer and rebuilt inspections. Annually there are approximately 400,000 conducted vehicle inspections in Illinois.
School Bus Inspections
IDOT is responsible for regulating and overseeing both scheduled and nonscheduled school bus inspections (e.g., roughly 60,000 are performed annually). Scheduled inspections are conducted at approximately 250 Illinois Official Testing Stations located across the state and are performed by Certified Safety Testers. In addition to these scheduled inspections, nonscheduled inspections are conducted by IDOT vehicle inspectors and are performed wherever a school bus may be stored or parked.
Evaluation of programs is an important component of accountability and performance. Please visit the link below to view reports discussing the effectiveness of IDOT programs and Traffic Safety Campaigns.