Chicago Has Highest Level Of Fatal Pedestrian Accidents In Four Years

I have written on this blog multiple
times that Chicago has taken significant steps to make streets safer for
pedestrian walkers. The city has installed speeder cameras near schools and
parks. The punishment for vehicles disobeying cross-walks has stiffened. Stop
signs for pedestrian cross walks haven been installed on busy roads such as
LaSalle, Clark and Division etc… All of these steps among others have been
implemented by Mayor Emanuel since he has taken over, yet, the Chicago Sun
Times
 reported last week that 48 pedestrians were killed in vehicle accidents in 2012. This was a sharp uptick from the previous two years and the
highest in four years.

The city needs to be asking itself
why there has been a sudden increase despite the measures taken to protect
pedestrians. “The weather was better. It was relatively mild, especially
in the winter,” Active Transportation Alliance Director Ron Burke said. “And
driving went back up for the first time in a while. … It looks like probably
more people were out walking because of the mild weather. That alone creates
potentially, unfortunately, some additional crashes.”  Others say
distracted driving is also a key factor: “People are more distracted. All you
need to do is look around and see everyone on a cell phone, texting or
listening to music and not paying attention to the road,” said Jose Ucles,
spokesman at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Chicago’s numbers
follow a national trend that shows an increase of traffic fatalities of all
types. In data from January through September — the latest available — the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said traffic fatalities
increased by 7.1 percent over the same nine months in 2011. That represents the
largest such increase since 1975 — the first year when NHTSA started collecting
data on traffic fatalities, the study found.

As I have stated
before, there needs to be tougher penalties against those cause auto accidents while
texting and driving and especially if there are personal injuries. Without
tougher penalties, I believe that pedestrian accidents will increase or at the
very least stay at the same level.

If you or someone
you love has been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident,
then call Chicago personal injury attorney Aaron Bryant for a free legal
consultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at
www.blgchicago.com. 
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NTSB Recommends Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device For All Those Convicted For DUI

The Los Angeles
Times
 recently reported about a federal program recommended by the
National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”), which would require
all drivers convicted of drunken driving to install an ignition interlocking
device before starting their car. An
alcohol-ignition interlock is a device that prevents the engine from starting
until the driver breathes into a device that measures alcohol content to see if
it is lower than prescribed limits. Currently, 17 states require interlocks for
first-time offenders. 

The NTSB ultimately believes this measure will help prevent traffic collisions and traffic fatalities. “The first step to address the number one killer on
our roadways is to do what is proven to be effective — use interlocks for all
DWI offenders,” said NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman.

Currently
in Illinois, the interlocking device is available to those charged with their
first DUI and their license has been suspended. The secretary of state allows
drivers to install the device in their vehicle, which allows the charged
offender to legally drive during their suspension.

The
question is whether requiring these devices is overly invasive and costly for
all those who have been convicted of a DUI. The alcoholic beverage
industry opposes a blanket requirement for first-time offenders, but it supports
restrictions for people who have registered exceptionally high blood-alcohol
levels.

Both the Distilled Spirits Council and the American Beverage
Institute, which represents restaurant chains, support ignition interlocks for
first-time convictions of people who posted a blood-alcohol content of .15 or
higher.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago caraccident or Chicago truck accident then call Chicago personal injury lawyer
Aaron Bryant for a free legal consultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm
website at www.blgchicago.com. 

Four New Illinois Traffic Laws Take Effect In 2013

Illinois drivers beware. There are
four new traffic laws that take effect in 2013. Three of the four involve cell
phone use and the fourth is Julie’s law which I wrote about a few months back.
Below is an outline of each of the laws:

1. A new law makes it illegal for
drivers to use cell phones in all roadwork zones. Previously the law only
applied to work zones with speed limit reductions.

2. It will also be illegal to use a
mobile phone while driving within 500 feet of an emergency scene.

3. Another law bars commercial
drivers from any hand-held cell phone use.

4. Governor Quinn also signed a bill
known as Julie’s Law, which increases penalties for serious speed-limit violations.
This new law prohibits judges from granting court supervision to anyone
charged with going 30 mph or more over the speed limit on highways and 25 mph
over or more in urban areas. So, if you are found guilty of driver 30 mph over
the speed limit, this will be considered a conviction on your driving record
and can also affect your insurance rates.

Remember to keep these new laws in
mind before you pick up your cell phone while in the car or if you feel the
need to speed down a highway.

If you or someone you love has been
injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicagopersonal injury attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384
or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com. 

Illinois House Passes Drivers License Bill For Undocumented Immigrants

Illinois is the
governor’s signature away from new legislation that will allow undocumented
immigrants to obtain a temporary driver’s license. NBC Chicago reported
on Tuesday that the bill passed 65-46. Immigrant Drivers would get three-year
licenses, called Temporary Visitor Driver’s Licenses, and would be required to
take a driver’s education class and carry car insurance. Lawmakers believe
there are as many as 250,000 undocumented immigrants on Illinois roads and that
more than 40 percent of deadly Illinois crashes involve drivers who don’t have
a license.

Governor Quinn applauded
the House’s action, saying the bill will save lives as well as “help ensure
every Illinois motorist is properly licensed and empower more immigrants to
become stronger contributors to our economy. 
Illinois roads will be safer if we ensure every driver learns the rules
of the road and is trained to drive safely,” Quinn said.


I wrote about this story a few weeks back when the bill was being discussed in
committee, which you can read here.  This bill is a win win for everyone.
First, it is undisputed that there are thousands of undocumented immigrants in
Illinois that are law abiding and are working hard for their families. They
have been left hamstrung by police and in courts because they have not been
allowed to apply for a driver’s license without a social security number. These
are pointless and expensive tickets that clog up the traffic and criminal
courts. I know this first hand because I have represented dozens of these
immigrants and most of the time they are merely trying to drive to and from
work or pick up their kids from school. Second, this measure will protect Illinois
drivers and make the roads safer. Immigrants will now be able to purchase auto
insurance, and in case there is an auto accident, there will be protection for the
injured. Third, the undocumented drivers will still have to take and pass the
written and driving test, which will hopefully mean that there will be
thousands of more skilled drivers that will know the rules of the road.

Should you or someone you love
become injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call
Chicago personal injury attorney Aaron J. Bryant for a free consultation at
312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com.
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Chicago Completes Speed Camera Test Period At Chicago Schools And Parks

The Chicago Sun
Times 
reported last week that speeder cameras located near Chicago
schools and parks went through a month long test period. The city placed
cameras on the
 North Side near
Warren Park in the 6500 block of North Western and around Near North Montessori
School in the 1400 block of West Division. South Side cameras were
installed in the 2200 block of West Pershing near McKinley Park and in the 6300
block of South King Drive near Dulles Elementary School. No tickets were
issued and the city won’t say how many speeders were observed or how fast they
were going. 

The city used two (2)
competing camera companies during this testing period (
Xerox State & Local Solutions and American Traffic Solutions), and
now the city will determine which contractor they will use going forward. 

Though
this project will bring in new revenues for the city, Chicago mayor Emanuel
insists that these cameras are being installed solely for children’s safety.
“I’m keeping my word. I said we were gonna invest in kids and their
safety…We’re gonna expand by 30 percent our after-school programs, double the
size of our summer jobs and add 5,000 kids to our pre-K, wrap-around, full-day
services,” the mayor said. It wasn’t a money-maker in the sense that you
were leaving the impression, which is that it was gonna be just some sloshing
around inside the budget. It’s going right back into what I said it was. And
there’s no better child safety program than after-school programs…when
two-thirds to three quarters of all children become a victim of crime.”

This speeder camera
program has gone under some scrutiny since it was announced last year. I think
it is too early to decide whether this is a good idea. If Mayor Emanuel is
being forthright about the safety considerations and the number of caraccidents and pedestrian accidents decrease in school and park areas, then it
will be deemed a success. Time will tell.

If you or someone you
love has been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then
call Chicago personal injury attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at
312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com. 
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