[Study] Labor Day Traffic Accidents in Chicago

New study labor day traffic collisions in Chicago

Chicago is a vibrant city offering many options for entertainment during the Labor Day weekend. For many, Labor Day marks the final days of sunshine and warm weather. As with many national holidays, Labor Day weekend leads to a surge in travel, leading to a spike in traffic accidents. It also ranks among the heaviest drinking holidays in the United States.

The National Safety Council estimates there will be 390 fatalities on the road during this 2020 holiday period. While there is uncertainty in this year’s forecasts due to COVID-19 related restrictions, we can likely expect to see a similar volume of traffic as the past years due to lower gas prices and more people opting for car travel.

At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, we are concerned about road safety in our community. We wanted to better understand why accidents happen in Chicago during Labor Day weekend. So, we worked with data visualization and consumer safety advocacy firm, 1Point21 Interactive, to analyze three years of CPD crash data during the Labor Day.  

For the purpose of this analysis, we defined the Labor Day period to begin at 12:00am on Friday to 11:59pm on the first Monday of September.

From 2017-2019, there were 3,421 motor vehicle crashes on Labor Day Weekend in Chicago – 506 of which resulted in at least one injury.  While only two people were killed, a total of 696 people were left injured.

Year Crashes Total Injuries Serious Injuries Moderate Injuries
2017 1077 212 27 112
2018 1211 230 28 139
2019 1142 254 34 149

[Interactive Map]

This map is interactive. Click and drag the map to zoom in and out and explore the crashes on Labor Day. The size of the points is based on the number of injuries sustained in each collision and the color represents the severity of the crash. 

Where accident cause was provided, the leading causes of collisions were:

  • Failing to yield right away (390 crashes, 134 injuries)
  • Following too closely – tailgating (314 crashes, 52 injuries)
  • Failing to reduce speed to avoid the crash (198 crashes, 52 injuries)

Additionally, we found that Friday and Saturday saw most of the accidents which are when most begin their Labor Day weekend. Surprisingly, the actual Labor Day saw the least amount of accidents out of the four days of the week.

Cyclists and Pedestrians Beware

Cyclists and pedestrians are disproportionately represented in injury crashes.  While only five percent of all crashes involved a non-motorist, over 27 percent of injury crashes during this period involved a bicyclist (74 crashes) or a pedestrian (64 crashes).

Which Neighborhoods Saw The Most Accidents?

The top three neighborhoods that saw the most accidents were Austin (166 crashes), River North (92 crashes), and Garfield Park (91 crashes). 

Labor Day Crashes Chicaago

Below is a list of the top 25 neighborhoods by crash volume during the study period.

Neighborhood Crashes Total Injuries
Austin 166 38
River North 92 15
Garfield Park 91 30
Loop 89 12
Little Village 89 19
Humboldt Park 88 18
Belmont Cragin 88 14
Englewood 85 24
West Ridge 84 7
Lake View 82 14
Chatham 73 13
Grand Crossing 69 19
Auburn Gresham 66 16
Chicago Lawn 66 9
North Lawndale 63 19
South Shore 59 13
Logan Square 59 11
West Lawn 58 15
Lincoln Park 57 8
Irving Park 55 11
Roseland 53 10
Garfield Ridge 53 9
Portage Park 51 13
Avondale 51 6
West Town 51 18

How to Stay Safe During Labor Day Weekend

Whether you choose to take a small trip around the city or visit an outdoor attraction, it is important to stay alert while on the road. Many Chicago residents may be itching to get out and enjoy the last of summer and may not be as careful as they should be. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers want to remind you of some safety tips to keep you safe when you are on the road during this holiday weekend:

  • Always use your seatbelt. Buckling up is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself from serious injury in an accident. 
  • Follow street signs and signals. Additionally, remember to yield the right-of-way to cars and pedestrians whenever appropriate
  • Keep a safe distance between cars. Many of the accidents we looked at could have been avoided if drivers had left enough space in between cars. The general rule of thumb is to maintain at least a 3-second following distance.
  • Be aware of the cars around you. While on the road, remember to scan your surroundings. If other drivers are showing signs of aggressive driving or tailgating, slow down or pull over to avoid them. 
  • Do not drive under the influence. If you choose to enjoy your holiday with a drink, make sure to have a safe plan to return home.