Deadly crashes are on the rise in Rockford, from just 3 at this time last year to 12 this year.
The most recent fatality happened in April. In that case, police say Sanjoe Douangchampa drove drunk, ran a stop sign in East Rockford, and crashed into another car, killing a passenger in his car and hurting 3 others.
Police Chief Dan O’Shea says the situation is becoming all to common.
“Impaired driving is generally the major cause of the fatals, more serious crashes. Distracted [driving] is another one that causes a lot of the crashes,” said O’Shea.
Rockford isn’t alone, though. An official from the Illinois Department of Transportation says it’s an state-wide issue.
“At the end of May, there have been 414 deaths on our roads. At the same time a year ago, we had 350. That’s an 18% increase,” said Gianna Urgo.
There has also been an overall increase in the number of crashes in Rockford. So far, police say there have been about 2400 this year. That’s 61 more than last year.
“People need to understand that they’re driving a 2,000 pound vehicle, and it’s beyond their control if they’re not paying attention all the time.,” said O’Shea.
For those who’ve had too much to drink, O’Shea suggests taking an Uber or walking. Urgo also warns that as temperatures heat up this summer, more people hit the road.
“As the summer travel season kicks off, we encourage motorists to reduce distractions in the car, drive sober and always buckle up,” said Urgo.