AT&T Launches Phone App To Prevent Texting And Driving

The last few years there
has been a plethora of studies, new laws, public and media outrage regarding
the dangers of texting and driving. Finally, some of the major cell phone
providers are stepping up to the plate in an effort to try to prevent texting and
driving. NBC Chicago reported this week that AT&T is launching a new app
called “it can wait”, which allows users to put their phones in drive
mode which sends an automatic reply to text messages and emails stating that
the user is driving. 

If you
just can’t miss an important call there is an option to allow up to five
programmed numbers ring through. Unfortunately it is not available for iPhones,
only Android and BlackBerry platforms. “It makes everybody think about
what’s going on and hopefully becomes infectious and creates a behavior,”
AT&T Illinois President, Paul La Schiazza said. Illinois Lieutenant
Governor Sheila Simon has taken the pledge as well and stated, “What we
need to do is make that cultural change where we let people know we’re not
going do it. And we let our children know we’re not going do it and we
demonstrate it. “

This is a positive sign that major phone carriers are taking responsibility and
doing what they can to prevent texting and driving. It will be interesting to
see what other phone carriers do as well and if there is more extensive
technology to come in the future, which requires all phones go into drive mode.

If you or someone you love has
been injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call
Chicago personal injury lawyer Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at
312-588-3384 to discuss your case. 

Updates On Chicago’s Red Light And Speeder Cameras

I wrote last week that
Chicago had declined to renew the contract of Redflex, its’ red light camera
company for the last several years. More news has trickled out the last few
days as the  Chicago Tribune has reported that Redflex has
fired the top vice president that handled its’ Chicago account, and that the
city has focused on a finalist to take the place of Redflex starting this
summer. 

Redflex fired one of
their top executives, Aaron Rosenberg, and simultaneously filed a lawsuit
against him. The firing and lawsuit stems from unethical conduct
involving Chicago transportation official
John Bills, who received lavish vacations from a Redflex consultant who
received more than $570,000 in company commissions. Redflex filed a
lawsuit against Rosenberg in Arizona Superior Court in Phoenix seeking damages
from the man it once credited for much of its expansion in the
U.S. “Mr. Rosenberg engaged in a protracted and covert scheme to
misappropriate funds from Redflex through the submission to the company of
false requests for expense reimbursement,” the suit alleges. “Mr.
Rosenberg’s conduct was intentional, outrageous and committed with an evil mind
with the intent of causing injury to and/or in deliberate disregard of the
unjustifiably substantial risk of significant harm to Redflex.”  The
suit also alleged Rosenberg’s “dishonest and unethical conduct has
substantially harmed Redflex’s business reputation and goodwill throughout the
United States and has and will continue to cause Redflex significant
damage.”

In
other news Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions Inc. was selected
Friday by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration as the preferred bidder to launch
an automated camera system to tag speeders near public schools and parks,
a program that could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. ATS and the
other finalist, Maryland-based Xerox State & Local Solutions Inc., were
chosen last year from a field of nine bidders. The two companies participated
in a month long test of their equipment in Chicago during which no tickets
were issued. City officials have declined to discuss the evaluation process.

These
are all interesting developments but I think taxpayers want to know if
these programs, which generate millions of dollars for the city, actually make
intersections safer for pedestrians and drivers. Is there a decrease in
accidents based on these cameras? As I have written in the past, many experts say
no. I am anxious to see the results of the investigation that is supposed to be
called for by the city council about the safety of these cameras. If it can be
shown that there are less car crashes and pedestrian accidents at these
intersections and the city makes money, then I guess it’s a win win. If not,
then the city needs to reevaluate these programs altogether.

If you
or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truckaccident, then call Chicago injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free consultation at 312-588-3384. 

Chicago Red Light Camera Company Dumped By City; Aldermen Want Answers

Reports came out last
week in the 
Chicago Tribune and Huffington Post that
the city decided not to renew the contract of Redflex Traffic Systems after
news came out that the company gave gifts to city official John Bills. Redflex was the company the city contracted with for its red light cameras. 

As a result, city
aldermen passed a resolution calling for hearings to determine how and why
specific intersections were chosen and whether safety (rather than money) was the ultimate goal.  
The resolution calls for city officials to
appear at a hearing to explain what role Redflex played in deciding where the
cameras went and whether revenue projections were considered in choosing the
intersections. Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced last week that Redflex would be
dumped from the city’s red-light camera contract.
 “The
original ordinance calls for better traffic safety, but we don’t really know
the standards they used,” said Arena, 45th. “We want officials from
(the Chicago Department of Transportation) to come in and give us specifics on
the analysis and on whether these intersections are safer now.”

These
developments are taking place years after the cameras were installed under much
controversy. There have been numerous studies and articles written about
whether red light cameras actually make intersections safer. Some of the
studies actually concluded that there were more car accidents in certain
intersections where the cameras were located. It will be interesting to see
what the city does next and whether these cameras will continue to exist. 

If
you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicagotruck 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. 

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IDOT Puts A Halt To Chicago’s Bicycle Lane Expansion

I have written in the
past about Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plans to expand protected bike lanes throughout
Chicago. These protected lanes have taken shape the last few months,
specifically on a stretch of Dearborn Avenue that goes through the downtown
loop.  Emanuel’s plan calls for up to 60 protected bike lanes by 2015.

According to a report
from the Chicago Tribune, this expansion may not happen so quickly.
The newspaper reported that the Illinois Department of Transportation
(“IDOT”), which has jurisdiction over many of the streets proposed in
the plan, wants to put a hold on the expansion until further studies have been
completed. “We don’t want to make
decisions on a scattershot basis. Our traffic engineers want to see more data
on the impact of protected bike lanes,” IDOT spokesman Mike Claffey
said.”We are also concerned about losing traffic lanes,” Claffey said,
noting that protected bike lanes require more space than traditional bike
lanes.

This
sudden move by IDOT has drawn the ire of many bicycle and transportation
experts. “With about 60 traffic crashes every day in Chicago that
result in injuries and fatalities, why would IDOT put the brakes on a proven
traffic safety strategy?” said Ron Burke, executive director of the Active
Transportation Alliance, which promotes greater use of alternative
transportation.  “Chicagoans want safer streets, and studies show
that protected bike lanes create more
order on the streets and
reduce injuries involving bikes, pedestrians and cars,” Burke said.

This seems to me as an
odd move by IDOT. I wonder if there were red flags in their office about an
uptick in car accidents in the areas where the bike lines exist. Or if there
were possibly complaints coming in from drivers. Either way it does not make
sense that they would slow this down. The number of bicycle riders around the
city – – specifically those who commute to work — increases every year. The
lanes installed by the city provide a safe haven for bicyclists as they ride
around the city. Unless the state and IDOT can show there has been a sharp
increase in bicycle accidents in the last year and a half, then their decision
to slow this program down makes no sense. 

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

Illinois Tollways Install Cameras To Monitor Traffic Congestion For Commuters

Chicago has been taking
a beating lately for its’ congested traffic. A study recently published by
Texas A&M University reported that Chicago was the third most congested
city in the country for driving commutes. Regardless, the Illinois Tollway
System announced last month that they have installed 15 new cameras at various
tollways around the Chicagoland area, which can be viewed online by drivers.
Per the Chicago Tribune, cameras have been installed along the Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90); eight cameras
along the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294); two cameras along the Veterans
Memorial Tollway (I-355); and two cameras along the Reagan Memorial Tollway
(I-88).

The
purpose of these cameras is to allow drivers to assess traffic congestion
before planning their commute. Camera images are uploaded approximately every
five minutes, and viewers must refresh the page to view updates. Image
quality is dependent on weather conditions, the tollway said.
 “Our goal in posting these images online is to give our customers
another valuable source of information to help them manage their travel
decisions,” Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur
said in a news release. Click here for a link to the website.

It will
be interesting to look at the traffic accident statistics at the end of the
year and see if there is a decrease in car crashes in the areas where the
cameras are placed. It will be interesting to also see if traffic congestion
decreases in these areas as people are choosing alternate routes and times to
reach their destinations. 

If you
or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car crash 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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Illinois Tollways Install Cameras To Monitor Traffic Congestion For Commuters

Chicago has been taking
a beating lately for its’ congested traffic. A study recently published by
Texas A&M University reported that Chicago was the third most congested
city in the country for driving commutes. Regardless, the Illinois Tollway
System announced last month that they have installed 15 new cameras at various
tollways around the Chicagoland area, which can be viewed online by drivers.
Per the Chicago Tribune, cameras have been installed along the Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90); eight cameras
along the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294); two cameras along the Veterans
Memorial Tollway (I-355); and two cameras along the Reagan Memorial Tollway
(I-88).

The
purpose of these cameras is to allow drivers to assess traffic congestion
before planning their commute. Camera images are uploaded approximately every
five minutes, and viewers must refresh the page to view updates. Image
quality is dependent on weather conditions, the tollway said.
 “Our goal in posting these images online is to give our customers
another valuable source of information to help them manage their travel
decisions,” Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur
said in a news release. Click here for a link to the website.

It will
be interesting to look at the traffic accident statistics at the end of the
year and see if there is a decrease in car crashes in the areas where the
cameras are placed. It will be interesting to also see if traffic congestion
decreases in these areas as people are choosing alternate routes and times to
reach their destinations. 

If you
or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car crash 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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Illinois Governor Quinn Signs Bill Allowing Undocumented Immigrants To Legally Drive

I wrote here and here
the past few weeks about new legislation in Illinois that would allow
undocumented immigrants to apply for a valid driver’s license. The Chicago
Tribune
 reported earlier this week that Governor Quinn signed the bill
into law over the weekend.  

Supporters
say the measure will make Illinois roads safer because it will provide a way
for immigrant drivers to get licenses, making it easier to obtain insurance
 and pass driving tests. The cards will look
different from traditional licenses and cannot be used as a form of
identification. Critics fear fraud and abuse, with some lawmakers saying they
wanted illegal immigrants to be fingerprinted to qualify. Immigrant rights
organizations said that would deter participation.

I have been a huge
proponent of this law from the day I heard that it was a possibility that the
legislature was going to move forward with this. It is now the law in Illinois
and I believe that there will be fewer car accidents, safer roads and the traffic
courts will be less congested. 

If you or someone you
love has been injured in a Chicago car crash 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.