Study Shows Illinois Falls Short With Teen Drivers

A study prepared by by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, gave Illinois high grades in all areas accept for teen drivers.  The entire study was put together by a coalition of groups from the insurance industry, law enforcement and consumer organizations. It grades states on the passage of laws that address teen driving, distracted driving, drunk driving, seat belt use and motorcycle helmets.

Illinois did receive high marks for recent legislation, including its’ complete ban on texting while driving. Secretary of State Jesse White pushed for the graduated driver licensing programs for teens last year which increased driving time with parents, reduced nighttime driving and restricts the number of passengers in the teen’s car. Secretary White says we are seeing the difference with a 52% reduction in teen driving deaths.

 

“We’re proud what we’ve been able to do. There’s a lot more to be done. Even though we’ve been able to enjoy a 52 percent reduction in loss of lives, we want it to go down to zero,” said White.

To claim the top spot, advocates recommends the teen drivers start learning at 16. Currently, 15- year-olds can get a permit. Also, experts encourage reducing nighttime driving for teens even further to 10 p.m. on weekends too. Currently, it’s 11 p.m. on weekends.

It will be interesting to see if Illinois legislators pass a graduated license program for teens. Stay tuned.

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

Obesity Could Protect Drivers Involved In Collisions

The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute recently published a study stating that obese drivers could be safer than non-obese drivers involved in car accidents, as long as they are wearing seat belts.

The study revealed that found that belted male drivers who are obese (those with a Body Mass Index between 35 and 50) have a 22 percent lower probability of being killed if involved in a fatal car crash than belted male drivers who are underweight (those with a BMI between 15 and 18.4).

However, the opposite is true for unbelted males, they say. The probability of being killed is 10 percent higher for unbelted male drivers with a BMI between 35 and 50, compared to those with a BMI between 15 and 18.4.

Our findings suggest that for increasing BMI, the optimal balance between the positive effects of extra cushioning and negative effects of extra mass and momentum depends on the gender of the driver and the use of safety belts,” said Sivak, research professor and head of UMTRI’s Human Factors Division.

Click here to read the entire article.

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

Red Light Cameras Working In Other Cities

I previously wrote about the effectiveness of red light cameras in Chicago. Car accident statistics for some Chicago intersections that had red light cameras actually showed an increase in car crashes.

My hometown of Kansas City, Missouri is actually showing a decrease car crashes around their city in intersections that contain red light cameras.  The Kansas City Star reported recently that  car wrecks overall declined 26 percent. Injury wrecks fell by 42 percent. And wrecks caused by drivers running red lights plunged 67 percent. Those declines contrast with a slight increase in wrecks citywide during that same time period.

“As a driver myself, I know I’m paying more attention,” said KC Police Chief Jim Corwin. “I think a lot of people are paying more attention, so those figures don’t surprise me.”

“I’m glad to hear it’s making a difference,” said Councilwoman Cathy Jolly, a proponent of the camera system. “This is why we did it.”

Nationwide, studies of crashes at camera-monitored intersections have reported mixed results.

Large studies from Virginia and North Carolina reported crash numbers grew after cameras were installed. Other studies, including ones in Dallas and California, cited a reduction in crashes.

Beth Ebel, director of the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center in Seattle, said many studies generally have found a decrease in right-angle or T-bone crashes but an increase in rear-end crashes.

To read the complete article, click here. It will be interesting to see how the intersections with red light cameras in Chicago fare in the next few  years. As mentioned above, experts who have studied this issue believe it could take up to three (3) years to determine their effectiveness.

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

Toyota Recieving Complaints On Prius Brakes

The Chicago Sun Times reported recently that the Toyota Motor Company has relieved over 100 complaints about the brakes on their Prius automobile in the U.S. and Japan.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received about 100 complaints involving the brakes of the Prius new model. Two involved car crashes resulting in injuries.

Japan’s transport ministry said Wednesday it has also received 14 complaints since July last year about brake problems with Toyota’s new Prius hybrid.

The 14 complaints included an auto accident in July 2009, in which a Prius crashed head on into another car at an intersection. Transport ministry official Masaya Ota said two people were slightly injured in the auto accident.

The ministry ordered Toyota, the world’s No. 1 automaker, to investigate the complaints. The other 13 cases happened from December to January 2010. Ota said the ministry has yet to receive a formal report on the complaints from Toyota.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told The Associated Press Tuesday that federal officials had to alert Toyota to the seriousness of the safety issues that eventually led to the recalls.

“They should have taken it seriously from the very beginning when we first started discussing it with them,” he said. “Maybe they were a little safety deaf.”

LaHood also said the U.S. government was considering civil penalties for Toyota for having dragged its feet on safety concerns.

I will be monitoring these issues closely as the investigations continue. Click here to read the entire article.

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

Federal Government Bans Texting For Truckers And Bus Drivers

On Tuesday, the federal government formally barred truckers and bus drivers from sending text messages while behind the wheel, putting its imprimatur on a prohibition embraced by many large trucking and transportation companies.

“We want the drivers of big rigs and buses and those who share the roads with them to be safe,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This is an important safety step, and we will be taking more to eliminate the threat of distracted driving.”
 
19 states, including Illinois, have banned texting while driving for all drivers. The Federal Government may not be far behind.  Soon after the NHSTA made this announcement, a group of Senators introduced new legislation that would ban texting by all drivers.

This move by the Federal government is not surprising at all. Texting bans appear to be the trend for local governments and now he federal government. It will be interesting to see if and when the new legislation passes.

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

AAA Issues Simple Tips For Safe Driving

I have written a lot in the past several months about several laws that Illinois legislators have passed to help make the roads safer. This includes the ban on cell phone use and the ban on texting while driving.  While these new laws are helpful and will hopefully make the roads safer, there are several little things that can help make you a “heads up” driver. AAA recently issued a press release that discusses simple steps all drivers can take to help make the roads safer. Take a look at the below list. These may seem obvious, but they can protect you, your family and, of course, other drivers. 

  1. PLAN AHEAD.  Read maps and check traffic conditions before you get on the road.
  2. STOW ELECTRONIC DEVICES.  Turn off your phone before you drive so you won’t be tempted to use it while on the road. Pull over to a safe place to talk on the phone or to send and receive text messages or emails.
  3. PREPARE KIDS AND PETS FOR THE TRIP.  Get the kids safely buckled in and situated with snacks and entertainment before you start driving. If they need additional attention during the trip, pull off the road safely to care for them.  Similarly, prepare and secure pets appropriately in your vehicle before getting underway.
  4. SATISFY THAT CRAVING OFF THE ROAD.  Eat meals and snacks before getting behind the wheel, or stop to eat and take a break if driving long-distance.
  5. STORE LOOSE GEAR AND POSSESSIONS.  Stash away loose objects that could roll around and take your attention away from driving.
  6. GET YOUR VEHICLE ROAD-READY.  Adjust seat positions, climate controls, sound systems and other devices before you leave or while your vehicle is stopped.  Make sure your headlights are spotless so you can see everything on the road and every other driver can see you better. Keep your windshield clean and remove dangling objects that could block your view.
  7. DRESS FOR SUCCESS – BEFORE YOU GET IN THE CAR.  Your car isn’t a dressing room.  Brush your hair, shave, put on make-up, and tie your necktie before you leave or once you reach your destination.
  8. GET YOUR BRAIN IN THE GAME.  Focus on the task at hand – driving safely. Scan the road, use mirrors and practice identifying orally what you just saw to enhance your engagement as a driver. Really focusing on maintaining your thoughts about the road, when you’re on the road, can help you improve your overall awareness and behavior as a driver, and help you see the importance of ‘being in the game.’ AAA offers classroom and online defensive driving courses that directly address distracted driving and offer tips for maintaining attention while driving.
  9. EVALUATE YOUR OWN BEHAVIOR FROM THE ‘OTHER’ SIDE OF THE ROAD.  When you’re on the road as a passenger or a pedestrian, take a look around and honestly evaluate whether you engage in poor driving behaviors that worry you when observed in other passengers or pedestrians.
  10. USE NEW TECHNOLOGY TO MAKE YOU A BETTER DRIVER.  Sharpen your ability to respond quickly to risks on the road. The AAA Foundation recommends all drivers improve their reaction times and managing attention on the road by using DriveSharp, a computer program proven to improve reaction time and stopping distances. With quicker responses, you can avoid the distracted driver who might end up in your lane.

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

NHTSA Responds To Toyota’s 3rd Recall

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration issued a press release yesterday regarding Toyota’s recent recall of the Prius and Lexus HS 250H based on break system problems.  Based on these recent issues with Toyota, the Department has opened its own investigation.

“Last Thursday, NHTSA opened a formal investigation of 2010 Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles in response to consumer complaints about braking difficulties, and today, Toyota has acknowledged a safety defect,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “When I spoke with Toyota President Akio Toyoda last week, he assured me that his company takes U.S. safety concerns very seriously. The U.S. DOT will remain in constant communication with Toyota to hold them to that promise. In the meantime, if you are concerned about your car’s braking performance, contact your Toyota dealer.”

NHTSA recommends that owners contact Toyota dealers immediately if they notice changes in their braking performance.

Loss of braking is most likely to occur when traveling over an uneven road surface, pothole or bump. If this occurs, the agency advises owners to continue to firmly press on the brake to stop the vehicle. As an extra precaution, drivers can leave extra stopping distance while awaiting their recall notice.

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

New Study Shows Older Workers Have Lower Work Comp Costs

The National Consortium for Compensation Insurance (NCCI) published a new study, which revealed that indemnity costs for injured workers aged 65 and older are generally lower than younger employees because they are generally paid less, according to a new study.

That  finding came in a detailed new report on older workers’ injury claims by the National Council on Compensation Insurance, which noted that the number of workers 65 and older has increased by nearly 50 percent since the late 1980s and is likely “to increase in light of recent financial and economic disruptions.” 

Its latest report examined not only how workers aged 65 and older differed  from all workers in terms of their share of indemnity claims, but also for medical payments, frequency and cost per claim. It also looked at implications for workers’ comp claims management and loss costs.

In addition to the findings on lost wage indemnity payments, key conclusions in the report were:

Falls, slips and trips are by far the greatest cause of injury among older workers.

Medical severity is higher for older workers, although the differential between workers aged 65 and older and nearby age cohorts is small.

Shares of indemnity and medical payments of older workers have a close relationship to their share of claims.

Frequency is less for older workers, especially in the more hazardous manufacturing and construction-related industries and occupations. In contrast, claim frequency is higher for older workers in the leisure and hospitality industry and food preparation and service occupations (as well as in sales and related occupations).

To read the entire article from Property Casualty News, click here.

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

IL Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Injured Worker Fired For Cause

Imagine this scenario: you have been hurt on the job and your employer accepts the work accident and you relieve workers compensation benefits. At some point you do something that your employer deems as a fire-able offense, yet is unrelated to the workers compensation case. What do you do now?  What if you are still not healthy enough to return to the work force?  Based on the recent Illinois Supreme Court ruling in Interstate Scaffolding v. Illinois Workers Compensation Commission. (1-22-2010, Docket # 107852), injured employees are still due their workers compensation benefits such as temporary total disability (TTD otherwise known as off-work payments) and medical treatment. The following is the Court’s holding:

when an employee who is entitled to receive workers’compensation benefits as a result of a work-related injury is later terminated for conduct unrelated to the injury, the employer’s obligation to pay TTD workers’ compensation benefits continues until the employee’s medical condition has stabilized and he has reached maximum medical improvement.”

This is a giant victory for injured workers in Illinois. This ruling provides protection to employees and stands by the principal that benefits are related to the principal question of whether the worker is unable to work due to the work related injury.

Click here, to read the entire Supreme Court decision.

If you or someone you know has an Illinois workers compensation claim or hurt on the job, then call attorney Aaron Bryant at 312-588-3384 for a free consultation and let him help you collect the benefits and money you deserve.