Lake County, Illinois
Lake County,Illinois, part of the Chicago metropolitan area, is tucked into the farthest northeast corner of Illinois. A significant percentage of Lake County’s population is attributed to the large-scale suburbanization of Chicago. From 1950 to 2000, Chicago’s population decreased 20% as Lake County’s population increased by 260%. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Lake County was home to an estimated 712,567 people in 2009, a 10.5% increase from the year 2000.
Waukegan, on the western shore of Lake Michigan, is Lake County’s seat and largest city. The southeast portion of the county is part of Chicago’s affluent North Shore, including Highland Park and Lake Forest, one of the most affluent communities in Illinois. Other major Lake County communities include Buffalo Grove, Gurnee, Fox Lake, Lake Zurich, Libertyville and Long Grove.
Lake County is conveniently located half way between Chicago and Milwaukee on the Interstate 94 Corridor, making the county an ideal location for distribution and warehouse operations. The county is also home to a significant number of pharmaceutical, biotechnology and life science companies, including Abbott Inc., Baxter International, Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Hospira, Astellas Pharma Inc. and Hollister Inc.
The major roadways serving Lake County, Illinois, include Interstate 94, U.S. Highway 12, U.S. Highway 14, U.S. Highway 41 and U.S. Highway 45. Over 20,000 vehicles per day travel along U.S. Route 45 in central Lake County, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Northwestern Lake County has experienced considerable residential development in the past 20 years, resulting in a large increase in commuter traffic, especially during morning and evening peak travel periods. This influx of commuter traffic combined with Illinois’s status as a national crossroads for truck traffic presents safety concerns for Lake County motorists. The heavy truck traffic on Lake County’s congested roadways presents a risk for the drivers of autos, light trucks, and motorcycles. A traffic accident involving a large truck and a passenger car or motorcycle can be catastrophic. The size and weight disparity between the heavy trucks and other vehicles will likely result in serious, possibly even fatal, injuries for the driver or passengers of the automobile or motorcycle involved in the crash.
The Illinois Department of Transportation reported 292,106 crashes which occurred on Illinois roadways in 2009, with 911 fatalities and 89,090 injuries. This is an average of 800 traffic crashes per day, with an average of two fatalities a day and 10 persons injured every hour. The greatest number of crashes occurred on Fridays, with 41,348 crashes in urban locations and 7,530 crashes in rural locations. Passenger cars were involved in 78% of the vehicle crashes.
There were 3,846 motorcycle crashes in Illinois in 2009, or 1.3% of all crashes. Motorcycle fatalities accounted for 14.3% of the traffic-related fatalities in 2009 in Illinois. These figures include crashes involving motorcycles, motor scooters, motorbikes and mopeds.
There were 9,319 accidents involving tractor-trailers in Illinois in the year 2009. These tractor-trailer crashes accounted for 3.2% of the total accidents. Fatal crashes involving tractor trailers account for 7.5% of all fatal accidents. In total, 64 persons were killed in tractor-trailer crashes; three of the persons killed were occupants of the tractor trailer, while 55 were occupants of another type of vehicle.
Lake County, Illinois had 130,050 motor vehicle crashes in 2009, with 18 persons killed and 4,668 injuries reported.