Speeding Driver in Glenview Kills Teen Driver in Catastrophic Crash

Glenview accident Mustang driverAn absolutely devastating collision caused three injuries and one death in Glenview last night. No official report has been made, but it appears that a speeding driver struck another car: the impact was significant enough that one of the vehicles literally cleaved in half.

From ABC News 7:

One light colored car was split in half, the trunk torn away from the front half of the car.

A dark colored car had a lot of damage to the front and back end with the hood smashed all the way into the windshield.

The 911 caller who witnessed the crash, believes he was being tailgated by a driver in a Mustang.

The witness said one of the drivers sped around him going at least 90 mph before the crash happened. He said the driver turned his lights off and on.

A 17-year-old boy was killed in the crash. The driver who hit him, along with passengers in both vehicles, were all taken to a hospital. We’re thinking of all the families today.

High-speed collisions can rip cars wide open

Chicagoland has more than its fair share of fatal accidents, but this one is especially challenging. Not only did a child die, but the damage to the vehicles is so extensive we’re not sure we would have believed it was caused by a crash if the news report didn’t show video of the surrounding scene. It wouldn’t be the first time, though, that a high-speed car accident caused this kind of damage:

The good news is these types of collisions are rare enough that we can still be surprised (and horrified) when we see photos of the damage. The bad news is people are still driving at such significant speeds that the force of their crashes is enough to rip open a car.

We expect vehicles to crumple: they’re literally designed that way. Crumple zones take the impact of the crash so that the drivers and passengers don’t. We also expect that the reinforced steel cage around you to help divert energy away from you, too, and to keep the roof from caving in on your head. But when a car is moving at 90 or 100mph and it hits another object, the force of that hit can be enough to rip through the metal. It’s Newton’s third law of motion: every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Therefore:

  • The striking car (A) exerts force on the other vehicle (B), which exerts its own force back onto Vehicle A. This means Vehicle A can rip in half, even though it’s the one that hit Vehicle B. Or,
  • Vehicle A hits Vehicle B with enough force, and at just the right angle, that it can literally smash through Vehicle B, while Vehicle A’s crumple zones absorb the impact. This appears to be what happened last night. A witness said that he believes Vehicle A t-boned Vehicle B.

How serious of a problem is Speeding in Chicago?

Serious. A 17-year-old is dead and three people are injured; speeding is a profoundly serious problem. It is also a common one. According to the City of Chicago’s official website, “70% of Chicago traffic fatalities involved drivers traveling at high speeds” in 2023. And while people are speeding in every neighborhood on every kind of street, it’s the wider roads – like highways – where we see the most damage. Per the City, “Wider streets are greatly overrepresented in traffic violence, more than half of fatal crashes in Chicago happened on streets over 50 feet wide, which are only 6.5% of our road network. [And] Wider streets encourage faster speeds, regardless of the posted speed limit. They also result in longer, crossing distances for people on foot.”

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How Chicago’s Complete Streets projects may reduce speed-related fatalities

Obviously, something needs to be done about speeding drivers. The City has tried warnings and traffic tickets, along with fines and jail time (in some instances). We talk about the data for fatal car crashes all the time. Yet so far, nothing has stuck. Even the federal government is raising the alarm about speeding fatalities.

Here in Chicago, our best hope for speed reduction is the Complete Streets initiative, which is designed to reduce drivers’ speeds and ultimately, reduce the number of fatal accidents they cause. There are three pillars, per the City:

  • Street Design: Redesigning streets to reflect the different ways people move around Chicago.
  • Community Dialogue: Building partnerships and elevating lived experiences.
  • Mobility Data: Using data to identify, evaluate, and prioritize investments.

Check out the Kedzie Avenue upgrade, for example. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) made quire a few changes there: a new bike lane, a lower speed limit, extended curbs, and even more visible signage. They even narrowed the roads. And since then (it was completed in August 2023), there’s been a 90% drop in people traveling more than 30mph on that stretch.

(Note: technically, they’re still speeding since the new posted speed limit is 20mph – but baby steps, right?)

Another long-term project involves Left Turn Calming Treatments – upgrades at intersections designed to reduce the number of accidents. They force drivers into “harder” turns: no more sliding across center lanes at speed. Instead, drivers are guided to make the turn from the lane they’re in, by bollards and speed bumps. Per the City, “Observations at eight pilot locations showed 97% of vehicles turning within the Safe Turning Zone, up from 73% before the installations.”

Changes like these take time and resources, but they’re worth it. And they are significantly less expensive than ripping up entire roads and building new ones. Taking these measures can reduce speeding across Chicago, making it safer for everyone. Until then, Gainsberg Injury and Accident Lawyers is here to help. To schedule a free consultation with a Chicago personal injury attorney after a car accident, please call us or fill out our contact form.