Mothers Against Drunk Driving Stresses Safe Parties Over Thanksgiving Weekend

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), issued a press release this week urging families and friends to provide a safe environment for their parties over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The release suggested people take the following steps when planning their Thanksgiving parties:

  • Designate a sober driver before celebrations begin.
  • Never serve those under the age of 21 alcohol.
  • Plan safe parties, including providing non-alcoholic drink options to guests and not serving alcohol the last hour of the gathering
  • Be prepared to get everyone home safe in case your plans or individual circumstances change 
  • To read the entire press release, click here.
     
    Thanksgiving is a great time to spend with family and friends, and let’s be honest, these get togethers almost always include alcohol. Help each other out and prevent drunk driving by following the above tips.

    If you or someone you know has been hit by a drunk driver, or has been involved in a car accident or truck accident, then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.

    Illinois Police To Add Patrols During Holidays To Rude Crashes

    The Illinois State Police have announced that they are going to increase their patrols over the holiday season to hopefully decrease the number of car accidents throughout the state.

    Many departments are participating in a statewide initiative called Operation Save 100, aimed to decrease by 100 the number of vehicle-related fatalities in Illinois until Jan. 31, 2010.

    “We’re going to do some saturated seat belt patrols, and we will be concentrating on various violations,” Spring Grove Police Chief Tom Sanders said.

    He said increased seat belt use would safeguard travelers against winter weather conditions, as well as drunk or aggressive drivers heading home from holiday parties.

    “When the conditions are icy and bad, it’s even more important,” Sanders said.

    On the night before Thanksgiving, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office would conduct two initiatives, one that focused on seat belt and car seat use and another that would target drunken driving.

    The sheriff’s office is teaming up with Huntley Police and the Illinois State Police for the drunken driving enforcement.

    Sheriff Keith Nygren credited such enforcement initiatives with contributing to the declining vehicle-related fatality rate in the county.

    “Focused and intense traffic enforcement can make a difference, … and that is what this is all about,” he said.

    To read the complete story, click here.

    Please be careful when driving over the holidays. There are a lot of crazy drivers out there and the roads can be treacherous.

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

    Suspended License Could Lead To An Impounded Car In Chicago

    The Chicago Tribune recently reported that the Chicago City Counsel has their eye on improving public safety by hammering down on drivers that are caught and ticketed with a suspended license. The new ordinance requires that drivers will pay $665 ($500 fine and $165 towing fee) to retrieve their cars.

    Ald. Thomas Allen, 38th, acknowledged his ordinance, which takes effect Jan. 1, isn’t perfect. But he said it’s a strong deterrent for scofflaws who were repeat offenders among the 22,904 citations Chicago police issued last year for driving with a suspended license.

    “You’re not going to eradicate the 22,000-plus cases of people getting pulled over for this,” Allen said. “But if they have to pay this $665 every time, it’s going to give them pause.”

    The new rule gained momentum after Allen brought up the case of James E. Cox, who was cited more than a dozen times with driving without a valid license but kept driving, records show. Cox is now charged with causing the Oct. 21 wreck that killed Kim Brown, a 27-year-old pregnant mother of five, as she stood on a West Side sidewalk.

    Allen pointed out Cox would have racked up thousands of dollars in fines to keep his car on the road before the accident that killed Brown. “He would have thought twice before driving again, facing those costs,” Allen said.

    This is an aggressive move by the Chicago City Counsel, which has public safety in mind and will hopefully lead to a decrease in car accidents around town.

    To read the complete story, click here.

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

    Illinois Department Of Transportation Issues Winter Driving Tips

    Winter is right around the corner and the Illinois Department of Transportation has issued a list of tips to help deal with the treacherous road ahead.

    IDOT recommends your vehicle contain the following items this winter. These items should make your life easier and more importantly, much safer.

    Your vehicle should be equipped with a winter emergency survival kit. The following items are recommended:

  • Ice scraper, snow brush, rags and paper towels.
  • Jumper cables, basic tool kit, antifreeze, no-freeze windshield washer fluid and extra drive belt(s).
  • Shovel, traction mats or old rugs, tire chains, salt, cat box litter or sand.
  • Blankets and extra clothing including hats, socks, waterproof boots, coats and gloves.
  • Non-perishable, high-calorie food.
  • Candles, waterproof matches and a metal container (coffee can) in which to melt snow into water.
  • Flashlight with extra batteries, flares or roadway reflectors.
  • A basic first aid kit and a fire extinguisher.
  • A cellular telephone with a backup power source might be the single most important safety item available. A citizen’s band radio is a good alternative.
  • Have a fun and safe holiday season and be careful on the roads.

    Should you or someone you know become involved in a car accident, truck accident or suffer from a personal injury, then call attorney Aaron J. Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.

    Teens Texting, Calling And Driving Is A Scary Combination

    A new Pew Research Report reveals that up to 50% of teen drivers admit to texting and talking on their cell phones while driving.

    According to the study by the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C, which surveyed 800 teens up to age 17:

    • 75 percent of teens have a cellphone, and more than half of them say they have talked on their cellphone while driving.

    • 40 percent say they have been in a car when the driver used a cellphone “in a way that put themselves or others in danger.”

    • 48 percent of teens say they have been in a car when the driver was texting.

    • More than one-third of teens ages 16 or 17 who text say they have texted while driving.

    FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski already has gone on record with his concerns. “Distracted driving endangers life and property and the current levels of injury and loss are unacceptable,” he sold a U.S. Senate committee last month.

    He cited a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report in 2008 that said driver distraction is the cause of 16 percent of all fatal crashes, which translates to 5,800 people killed, and 21 percent of crashes that result in an injury, which is 515,000 people.

    As I previously wrote, the U.S. Senate is now considering a bill that would completely ban texting while driving. I don’t t think that legislation could come soon enough. The statistics do not lie and apparently teens drivers do not view this as a dangerous activity.

    To read the complete article from the Seattle Times, click here.

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

    New Technology Is Key To Reducing Severity Of Car Crashes

    ABC News recently reported that there has been new car technology has decreased the severity of car accidents.  A report from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety concluded that new advanced in automobile technology could decrease accidents by as much as one-third.

    The report reveals that new crash avoidance technology is becoming more effective in protecting passengers in a number of different kinds of crashes, including severe frontal crashes, the most common fatal accident. Equipping vehicles with this technology could result in the prevention or reduced severity of as many as 32 percent of the 5.8 million crashes that occur annually.

    Each year, there are nearly 700,000 automobile accidents that result in injury. Approximately 148,000, or 21 percent, could be mitigated by these technologies; of the 33,035 fatal accidents annually, as many as 31 percent could be prevented or have an altered outcome, as revealed by this new study.

    The new crash avoidance technologies range from features that offer the driver a visual or audio alert signaling he or she should take corrective action to avoid an imminent accident, to more active measures that allow the car’s computer to intervene and apply the brakes to prevent a collision.

    The safety systems include forward collision warning, which alerts a driver to brake more quickly when he or she is closing in on a car ahead; blind spot detection to make drivers aware of vehicles in adjacent lanes; headlights that map to the steering wheel so that they adjust as the car turns; and lane departure warning, which alerts the driver if the vehicle is drifting off of the road unintentionally. Such advanced innovations even take into account driver distraction.
     
    To read the entire article about the increase new automobile technology, click here.

    It will be interesting to see if there continues to be a downward trend in car accidents as the technology continues to improve.

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

    Drunk Illinois Driver Causes Crash, Injures 12

    A Morton, Illinois man was arrested after allegedly drinking and driving and causing a car crash that injured 12 other motorists. The  car crash that sent 12 people to area hospitals occurred on Sept. 16

    Jesse A. Horn, 23, of 119 E. Hazelwood St., Morton, was coming from the Morton Pumpkin Festival, where, according to court records, he was doing community service hours for a past DUI conviction.was charged with five felony counts by the Tazewell County State’s Attorney Thursday: unlawful possession of a converted vehicle, a Class 2 felony; three counts of aggravated driving under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs resulting in an accident causing great bodily harm, a Class 4 felony; and driving on a suspended driver’s license, subsequent felony offense, a Class 4 felony.

    At the hospital after the accident, Horn was issued citations for DUI, reckless driving and driving on a suspended driver’s license. Those tickets were dropped so that the state could charge him with the felony counts, said Umholtz.

    Umholtz said the Pumpkin Festival organizers are in no way to blame for the accident. He said Horn allegedly took the truck, loaned by Mike Murphy Ford in Morton to the festival committee, without permission.

    Witnesses said that Horn was driving eastbound in the westbound lane when he encountered a Toyota truck waiting to turn onto Durant Street. As Horn was trying to get back into the eastbound lane and a Jeep was coming toward him in the westbound lane, the front of Horn’s vehicle hit the Toyota and the back of his vehicle hit the Jeep, which went into a spin and went into a cornfield on the south side of Route 150.

    According to court records, injuries to some victims were serious. One man’s arm was broken in three places and required surgery to install pins to repair it. Another victim suffered rib and vertebrae fractures.

    Click here, to read the complete story.

    This was an unfortunate incident, and I think everyone involved and their families should count their blessings that no one died.

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

     

    Fatigue A Huge Factor For Car Accidents

    Reuters recently reported that 1.9 million people are involved in car accidents and near misses every year. The National Sleep
    Foundation’s 2009 Sleep in America poll shows that 1% or as many as 1.9 million drivers have had a car crash or a near miss due to drowsiness in the past year. Even more surprising, 54% of drivers (105 million) have driven while drowsy at least once in the past year, and 28% (54 million) do so at least once per month.

    “People underestimate how tired they are and think that they can stay awake by sheer force of will,” said Thomas Balkin, Ph.D., Chairman of the National Sleep Foundation. “This is a risky misconception.  Would there be 1.9 million fatigue-related crashes or near misses if people were good at assessing their own ability to drive when fatigued?”

    “The problem,” says Balkin, “is that although we are pretty good at recognizing when we feel sleepy, we do not recognize the process of actually falling asleep as it is happening.  The process robs us of both self-awareness and awareness of our environment.  All it takes is a moment of reduced awareness to cause a car crash.”

    Studies show that being awake for more than 20 hours results in an impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%, the legal limit in all states. Like alcohol, fatigue slows reaction time, decreases awareness and impairs judgment. But unlike an awake driver impaired by alcohol, a sleeping driver is unable to take any action to avoid a car crash.

    As I discussed a few days ago, the federal government could step in and require truck drivers to take an hour break for rest every ten hours. Based on the above statistics, that seems to be appropriate action that could cut down on some of the dangerous driving on our nation’s highways. We will watch this closely.

    To read this entire story, click here.

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

    CTA Train Door Closes On Stroller, Throws Todler On Train Tracks

    The Chicago Sun-Times recently reported about an incident that occurred on the Chicago Red Line. A woman was attempting to enter the train with her toddler and stroller in tow. The doors of the train apparently shut on the stroller, eventually leading to the toddler being thrown out and onto the tracks. The woman was able to retrieve her child immediately and both are apparently unharmed.

    A preliminary investigation showed the train’s doors were working properly, said CTA spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney. “We don’t know the cause. We want to do more extensive testing.”

    “The door has sensitive edges that, when pressure is applied, are supposed to open,” said Gaffney. “The procedure is that the operator is supposed to look outside the motor-cab window and make sure it’s clear. The operator also is supposed to look at signal lights for each train door [to make sure they’re closed].”

    Kelly said the operator “did not see anybody caught in the doors and [got] the proper signal that the doors were closed to proceed.”

    A supervisor relieved the operator at the Lawrence station, Kelly said. A northbound train operator then told the supervisor that two rear doors on the southbound train were not working, Kelly said.

    The supervisor bypassed the system to allow the doors to open, Kelly said.

    To read the complete story, click here.

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

    Highway Deaths At Record Low In First Half Of 2009

    ABC News recently reported that there was a sharp decline in highway deaths in the first half of 2009.

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported Friday that 16,626 people died in traffic crashes between January and the end of June, a 7 percent decline from the same period last year. It followed up on a record low number of deaths achieved for that period in 2008, when an estimated 37,261 motorists died, the fewest since 1961.

    The recession is probably the biggest contributor but it’s not the only contributor,” said Barbara Harsha, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety agencies.

    Highway safety officials also reported a decline in the fatality rate, the number of deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. It fell to 1.15 during the first half of 2009, compared with a record low — at the time — of 1.27 in 2008.

    Harsha and others noted that seat belt use has climbed to an all-time high, many new vehicles offer safety-enhancing side air bags and anti-rollover technologies and authorities have stepped up enforcement of drunk driving laws.

    Seat belt use climbed to 84 percent in 2009, helped by many states allowing police to stop a vehicle for a seat belt violation, even if this is the only violation the officers notice.

    To read the entire story at ABC News, click here.

    If you look closely, I mean very closely, a few positive things have come about as a result of the recent recession. Hopefully this trend in highway safety continues even as the economy recovers.

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