IDOT Reports That Late-Night Driving Is The Deadliest Time On Illinois Roadways.

The Illinois Department of Transportation recently announced that drinking and driving and low seatbelt use leads to higher accident rates late at night. Nearly seven out of ten fatalities occurring between midnight and 3 a.m. involve a drinking driver, and less than three out of ten of those who died in crashes during this time were properly restrained by a safety belt.  The picture is completely different during the higher-traffic, daytime hours with less than two out of ten fatalities involving alcohol and nearly six out of ten properly restrained. 

“Drinking and driving is inappropriate regardless of the time of day,” said Illinois State Police Director Jonathon Monken. “Data tells us the likelihood of being involved in a crash or fatal crash where alcohol is involved increases dramatically at night.  Therefore, the Illinois State Police will focus our efforts on DUI and seat belt enforcement during night time details.”

According to data from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the midnight to 3 a.m. time frame is the deadliest time on Illinois roads.  For the last four years (2005-2008) in Illinois, more motor vehicle fatalities occurred between midnight and 3 a.m. than any other time of day.  Fatalities occurring from 9 p.m. to midnight were close behind.

Not coincidentally, the data also shows late night hours have by far the highest percentage of alcohol involvement.  For the last four years (2005-2008), 67 percent of the motor vehicle fatalities occurring from midnight to 3 a.m. involved a drinking driver.

Equally troubling during the nighttime hours is the fact that motorists buckle up at a much lower rate.  Data shows for the years 2005-2008, the midnight to 3 a.m. and the 3 a.m.-6 a.m. time frame had the lowest belt use involving motor vehicle fatalities with only 27 percent of those who died in crashes properly restrained.  The 9 p.m. to midnight timeframe was second worst with only 32 percent of those who died were properly restrained.

Remember to keep your wits about you when driving late at night as the data clearly show that there are far more drunk drivers on the road. And, of course, always buckle up no matter what time of day.

Contact attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384 if you or someone you know has been involved in a vehicle accident.

Safety Advocates Seek More Seat Belt Use

Several safety advocates, such as the Governors Highway Safety Association, are making a push for seat belt laws requiring all passengers wear their seat belts.  Currently, only 21 states and the District of Columbia, require all passengers (including those in the back seat) wear their seat belts.

“If a person in the back seat is not belted and the vehicle is involved in a crash, especially a head-on crash, the person in the back seat can become a human projectile,” says Tom Welch, a state transportation safety engineer for Iowa’s transportation department.  “My real concern is the pattern it puts in place, that the government can tell people what’s good for them,” says James Baxter, president of the National Motorists Association, which opposes all mandatory seat belt laws. “When it comes to my own life, I believe I should be able to make that kind of decision myself,” Baxter says.

Rear seat belt use was higher in states requiring belt use in all seating positions, according to a recent survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Rear seat belt use in the USA was at 74% in 2008, compared with 83% for front seat belts, according to the May survey.

Wearing rear seat lap and shoulder belts greatly improves the odds of surviving crashes — for both rear and front seat passengers, NHTSA research shows. Rear seat lap and shoulder belts are 44% more effective in reducing crash fatalities compared with unrestrained occupants in passenger cars and 73% more effective in passenger vans and sport-utility vehicles.

The statistics don’t lie folks. Remember to buckle up even if you are sitting in the back seat. It will protect you and your loved ones and could help you avoid a traffic violation.

To read the complete story in USA Today, click here.

If you or someone you know was involved in a car accident, then call attorney Aaron Bryant at 312-588-3384 for free consultation.

Illinois Secretary of State Urges Residents To Register With The “In Case of Emergency” Database

The Chicago Tribune reported last week that the Illinois Secretary of State is compiling an “in case of emergency” database for Illinois residents. The database will help police find relatives of those injured in car accidents.   The voluntary database allows Illinois residents to enter addresses and phone numbers for up to two contacts anywhere in the United States at cyberdriveillinois.com. The program, which launched last month, is open to all Illinois residents with a driver’s license, instruction permit or identification card.

The goal is to ease some of the burden on police, who already arrange for emergency transport, direct traffic and investigate the cause of serious accidents. Contacting the relative of an injured motorist is one more grim task for authorities made more difficult when driver’s license information is not up to date, authorities said.

This program was instituted to help ease the burden on police departments who often have to perform detailed investigative work when an accident victim cannot communicate.

Responding to a traffic accident can tax a police department and its personnel, making it difficult to tend to details such as searching for an emergency contact. “Many times the manpower isn’t there to do these kinds of other tasks,”  said Jeffrey Stolzenburg, Libertyville Police Officer.  “Often it takes a considerable amount of effort and much-needed time [that] this program will reduce significantly,” Stolzenburg said. “As long as people put in reliable information and are able to update it, only time will tell, but I do foresee it being very helpful.”

The Bryant Law Group urges all Illinois residents to contact the Secretary of State and register with this database. A car accident can be a chaotic atmosphere and this can make it easier for loved ones to be contacted as soon as possible.

Click here to read the complete story from the Chicago Tribune.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident , then contact attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.

Federal Safe Driving Summit Announced

As I previously noted in my accident blog, Illinois has considering stricter restrictions on the use of cell phones and message devices while driving. The federal government has now announced that they will be holding a summit in Washington D.C. on September 30 through October 1 to discuss enacting stricter regulations for drivers.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that the agenda  for the Distracted Driving Summit  will include over 200 safety experts, researchers, elected officials and members of the public will gather in Washington, D.C. to share their experiences, provide feedback and develop recommendations for reducing the growing safety risk that distracted driving is imposing on our nation’s roads.

The Distracted Driving Summit will bring together respected leaders from around the country for interactive sessions on the extent and impact of the problem, current research, regulations, best practices and other key topics. The two day Summit will feature five panels – on data, research, technology, policy, and outreach – with a range of experts discussing each topic.

One of the panels will include a discussion on advances in technology, specifically, text messaging and emailing, and how it has affected drivers.

It is clear that the government is believes cell phones and messaging devices can cause serious distraction to drivers and we could see even stricter regulations. To read more about the summit, click here, for the department of transportation home page.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto or trucking accident, then call Attorney Aaron J. Bryant for free consultation at 312-588-3384.

CDOT Teams With CPD To Make Crosswalks Safer

This summer The Chicago Department of Transportation teamed  up with the Chicago Police Department on an undercover sting operation to protect pedestrians at crosswalks. Off-duty police officers are going undercover at busy intersections around the city of Chicago and are stopping drivers who do not stop for pedestrians and crosswalks. The fines for failure to yield run anywhere from $50 up to $500.  The effort is to help prevent auto and pedestrian accidents

“Providing a safe pedestrian environment is our No. 1 goal,” said CDOT Acting Commissioner Thomas Powers. “This initiative is designed to increase awareness among motorists about the importance of stopping for pedestrians. People should be able to safely cross the street in their neighborhoods.”

Remember to always be aware of pedestrians, especially at night, at the different busy crosswalks around the city. Not only is it safe practice, but you could avoid a hefty fine. To read the complete story from the CDOT website, clike here.

If you, or someone you know has been involved in an auto or trucking accident, then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.

National Safety Counsel Calls For Ban On All Cell Phone Use While Driving

In January of this year the National Safety Counsel announced that they are calling for a complete ban on cell phone use while driving.  The announcement is a plea to businesses, governors and legislators in all 50 states to enact laws banning the use of cell phones and messaging devices while driving.

A study from the Harvard Center of Risk Analysis estimates that cell phone use while driving contributes to 6 percent of crashes, which equates to 636,000 crashes, 330,000 injuries, 12,000 serious injuries and 2,600 deaths each year. The study also put the annual financial toll of cell phone-related crashes at $43 billion.

As I have mentioned before, the temptation is always there to answer calls, read texts and emails and even return text messages while driving. I have stopped reading and returning emails and texts while driving and only use the speaker phone. Based on these recent studies at Harvard and Virginia Tech, I believe we will be seeing stiffer restrictions on cell phone use and messaging devices in Illinois and around the country.

To read the complete story, click here.

Call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation  at 312-588-3384, if you or someone you know has been involved in an accident,

11 Injured In CTA Bus Accident On Chicago’s South Side

A CTA bus traveling on Ashland on Chicago’s South side apparently drove into a light pole at 7:30 this morning. The accident injured 10 passengers and the driver. 2 are believed to be in critical condition, 8 in fair condition and 1 in good condition. There are no reports as to what caused the driver to crash into the light pole.

To read the complete story in the Chicago Sun Times, click here.

If you or someone you know have been involved in an accident on a CTA bus or train, then call Chicago Attorney Aaron Bryant  at 312-588-3384 for a free consultation.

New Study Shows Texting While Driving Increases Auto Accident Rates Tenfold

I think we have all experienced the following situation in the past. You are driving along and you receive a new email or text message on your Blackberry or IPhone. The temptation is there to read the message and even type a response. I have been in that situation countless times returning from Court or even during a long road trip. We all need to face the fact that returning that text is dangerous and can even be deadly. This has been confirmed in a new study performed by the Virginia Tech Traffic Institute, which revealed last week that when drivers texted, their collision risk was 23 times greater than when not texting.  In the moments before a car crash or near crash, drivers typically spent nearly five seconds looking at their devices — enough time at typical highway speeds to cover more than the length of a football field. 

This is scary information and it has led me to re-think ever responding to a text or email while driving. So, the next time you are cruising around town, please ignore that text or email until you have a chance to stop your car or pull over. It could save your life.

To read more about the study reported on by the New York Times, click here.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a car or trucking accident, then call Attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.