ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The number of car crashes in Rockford is skyrocketing.
Including the garbage truck crash on Tuesday, there have been 18 this month alone, four of which were deadly. Rockford Police Chief Carla Redd said that speeding is one of the biggest concerns right now.
29 crashes in Rockford were deadly in 2021. In 2019 and 2020, Rockford had 15, and numbers have doubled from two deadly crashes last year, to now four this year in the Illinois State Police District #16.
“The increase speed is definitely a factor, where were seeing more people being ejected from their vehicles as well,” Redd said.
Redd said that 11 of the nearly 30 deadly crashes in 2021 involved speed, and that the police department is working overtime to keep these drivers off the road.
“You see the drivers out there that are just driving excessively fast for no good reason,” Redd said. “I can tell you we have added the increased extra hours, if you will, with man power in regards to trying to get the drivers to slow down. Unfortunately, it results in a lot more tickets being issued, but we’ve got to do something to try to mitigate the risks at hand.”
Rockford Police are not fighting this battle alone. According to Heather Hansen, the acting Lieutenant for the Illinois State Police District #16, their focus is the five things that Hansen said causes fatal crashes.
“Our office and departments are working together, and we’re focusing on exactly what the chief said,” Hansen said. “Speed, as she said, improper lane usage, following too closely, not wearing your seatbelt, because you get ejected when you get hit or when you hit someone and then being intoxicated, being impaired.”
Hansen said that taking action now is a top priority, and asked the public to do their part.
“Because the warnings, it doesn’t change peoples behavior, and we have to change their behavior to save their lives,” Hansen said.
Redd said that she dodged a close call when someone ran out in the middle of the street in front of her car.
“You have those crosswalks out there for a reason, I need people to utilize them as well,” Redd said. “I’m northbound on Mulford, north of State Street, and a person in all dark clothing darted out in front of my vehicle last night and I had to slam on my breaks. I was driving the speed limit, which gave me enough reactionary time because I wasn’t in excess.”
Redd said that it is unfortunate that this happens all too often, and not everyone is able to stop.
“When you’re out at night, definitely wear lighter clothing so that people can see you in traffic,” Redd said. “I mean, it was pitch dark last night, 7:30, and like I said, somebody darted right out in front of me.”
With Halloween quickly approaching, Redd recommends taking steps to protect kids, like adding safety measures to their costumes.
“Have some reflection on them, even if you have to add reflective tape, have the flashlights out there, please don’t leave the kids unattended, because we want everyone to have a safe and happy Halloween,” Redd said.
Chief Redd asks that if someone is seen driving recklessly to stay calm and call in the information on the driver and the car. She also said that officers are working overtime to keep reckless drivers off the road, giving out more than 250 tickets this year.