AAA Opposes Illinois Speed Limit Increase

According to  The
Wall Street Journal, 
AAA is adamantly opposed to the Illinois Senate
Bill 2356, which proposes to increase the interstate speed limit 70 miles per
hour. 

“The Illinois legislature should not
ignore the enormous speeding problem Illinois already has on its
roadways,” said Brad Roeber, president of AAA Chicago. “Speeding
accounts for more than half of Illinois’ over 900 roadway fatalities, and this
problem cannot be fixed by letting cars and trucks travel faster.”

The data on speeding are clear. From
2008-2011, Illinois’ roadway fatalities dropped 12 percent; but those
fatalities due to speeding rose nearly 14 percent. Furthermore, in 2010 and
2011, Illinois speed limits for large trucks were raised to 65 mph. Over this
time, there has been a 39 percent increase in fatalities involving large
trucks.

“Make no mistake, this bill allows large
trucks to travel even faster on our roadways. The majority of large-truck
fatalities involve motorists, who unfortunately don’t stand a chance against an
80,000 pound vehicle traveling at high speeds,” said Roeber.  In
2011, AAA noted in their Crashes vs. Congestion study that a conservative
estimate of the cost to society for each fatal car crash was $6 million. 

I wrote about this issue last week after the
bill passed through the Senate. My issue with the Bill was whether there were
any studies available regarding the dangers on the roadways based on a higher
speed limit. No surprise, AAA has researched this issue, and they are convinced
there will be me traffic accidents and traffic fatalities if drivers
(specifically truck drivers) are allowed to drive faster on highways. I would
like to see an independent study on this issue before I conclude whether this
Bill should be enacted into law.

If you or someone you love has been seriously
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. 

Illinois Senate Bill Would Raise Speed Limit To 70 On Interstates

The Chicago
Tribune
 reported this week that the Illinois Senate passed a measure
41 to 6 that raise the speed limit to 70 miles per hour on interstates and toll
ways. It is interesting to point out that the bill would allow Cook County and
Suburban St. Louis counties to opt out of the measure. The current top speed on Illinois interstates is 65
mph.

Sponsoring Sen. Jim
Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, said the change would bring Illinois in line with the
more than 30 states that allow drivers to go 70 or 75 mph. Oberweis said the
higher speed would allow commerce to move faster. Oberweis said it would save
time for his delivery services as well as countless other companies, calling
the bill “business-friendly.”

This bill will no doubt
be supported by truck drivers and trucking companies and by those who make the
arduous drive from Chicago to St. Louis down I-55. The question I have is
whether there would be any safety ramifications for drivers. That is, will the
higher speed limit make drivers more susceptible to auto accidents? The article
does not mention any safety studies that have been performed on this issue.

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

Traffic Gridlock Increases In Chicago Due Economic Rebound

The PR Newswire released
an interesting article this week, which confirmed that traffic gridlock, has
increased over the past year across the United States, including here in
Chicago. According to data from the most
recent INRIX Gridlock Index (IGI) shows that traffic jumped by almost 10
percent during February – the largest year-over-year increase recorded by IGI
in two years, and a healthy sign of rising economic activity across 100 metro
areas.

“Traffic is a great indicator
of confidence on the ground,” said Bryan Mistele, CEO of INRIX.
“People hit the road as they return to work, and businesses ship more
freight as their orders increase. IGI shows the pulse of the economy is
starting to beat faster.”

February’s composite IGI score of
6.8 meant that the average trip took drivers in the 100 most populated metro
areas 6.8 percent longer because of increased traffic congestion. The IGI’s
positive turn was echoed by a recent report on the U.S. housing sector. The
U.S. Commerce Department reported that February 2013 permits for
future construction rose 4.6 percent, reaching the highest level since June
2008.

Here in Chicago, traffic increased
over 20 percent from February 2012 to February 2013, hinting
that the metro area’s slow recovery may be gathering speed.

The article did not provide any
additional statistics about an increase in car accidents or traffic fatalities.
But I can almost guarantee that an increase in traffic jams, will ultimately
lead to an increase in traffic accidents. Remember to keep your wits about you
and focus on the road when you get stuck in traffic.

Should you or someone you love
suffer a serious injury in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then
call Chicago personal injury attorney Aaron Bryant for a free legalconsultation at 312-588-3384.

National Work Zone Awareness Week Starts Today

Construction workers are
often at grave risk as they work on highways and streets throughout the United
States. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation,  
there were more than 37,000 work zone injuries and more than 500 fatalities in the most recent year
reported. This equates to one work zone injury every 14 minutes, 96 per day, or
about four people injured every hour.

Travelers
Insurance recently provided to
 Market Watch a list of steps that construction workers and construction
companies should follow to help protect themselves while working on a road
crew: 

–Have a Plan – Having
a written Traffic Control Plan based on the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control
Devices (MUTCD) or state requirements, whichever is more stringent, is critical
in that it is the foundation for safety within work zones.

— Slow Traffic – The
signage a driver and/or pedestrian experiences before entering a work zone in
the advanced warning area can influence their movement through the work zone.

— Create a Barrier –
While the type and extent of barriers utilized within a work zone are typically
dictated within contract documents, the type of barrier ultimately used can
mean the difference between protecting workers or not.

— Be Visible – Make
sure workers are visible with the appropriate high-visibility apparel. This
includes bright colors during the day and retro-reflective gear when working in
the dark.

A road construction
worker is a dangerous occupation, which is why this awareness week is so
important. Remember to slow down if you are driving through a construction
zone, and realize that these workers are doing their job and have families at
home. 

If you are a road
construction worker and suffered a Chicago work injury and a Chicago trafficaccident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney Aaron Bryant for a freeconsultation at 312-588-3384. 

IL House Passes Bill For Additional Driver Education For Young Drivers

For years many young
Illinois drivers wait until they are 18 years old to apply for their driver’s
license in order to avoid taking driver’s ed while in high school. CBS Chicago
reported this week that the Illinois house has approved a bill that eliminate
this loophole for young drivers and would require they take 6 hours of online
driving classes before applying for their driver’s license. This would only be
required if the driver did not take driving classes while in high school.

Under the state’s
current graduated driver’s license program, teens can get a learning permit at
age 15, and a driver’s license at 16 if they have taken at least 50 hours of
classes – with 10 hours of practice driving at night.

But those 18 and older
don’t have to take driver’s ed classes to get a license under the current law.
 Secretary of State Jesse White said those young drivers are taking
advantage of a loophole in the graduated driving program.

“This piece of
legislation is designed to take care of some of the issues that these young
people have missed, because they didn’t take part in our graduated driver’s
license program,” he said.

The courses would
include information on traffic laws and signs, drug and alcohol awareness, and
the dangers of texting while driving.

I love this new bill
as we have seen the last few years that many fatal traffic accidents involve
young drivers. Also, the new requirement is minimally invasive as it is only 6
hours, compared to the 50 hours required for fifteen year old to apply for a
permit.

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

 

IDOT Launches”Gear Up – Ride Smart” Campaign To Promote Motorcycle Safety

Despite this recent cold
weather, Spring is here and many around Chicago and the state of Illinois are
breaking out their motorcycles in order to finally enjoy some fresh air. There
will be many more motorcycles on the road and with that, comes the potential
for an increase in motorcycle accidents and car crashes. In an attempt to
combat this, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has launched
“Gear Up – Ride Smart” campaign to promote motorcycle safety.
 They are partnering with the Illinois
State Police (ISP), Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) and A Brotherhood
Aimed towards Education (ABATE). The campaign promotes safe motorcycle riding
through continued training and use of proper gear and reminds all motorcyclists
to get licensed, get proper training, and keep motorcycle equipment well
maintained. “Gear Up – Ride Smart” also warns against riding after drinking.

Motorcycles
represent 3 percent of total vehicle registrations, yet motorcycle fatalities
account for more than 15 percent of all vehicle fatalities. Statistics show
that about half of motorcycle rider deaths occur in crashes involving only the
motorcycle, and approximately 40 percent of those fatalities involve motorcycle
operators who rode after drinking.

“Motorcyclists
are at an increased risk of injury or death when involved in a crash,” said
Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “When alcohol is added, the
results often are horrendous. Illinois has embraced ‘Driving Zero Fatalities to
a Reality’ and wants all travelers on Illinois roadways to be safe. That’s why
we encourage all motorcycle riders to get prepared early in the spring season
by taking a training or refresher course on motorcycle safety, and to always
wear the proper gear and never ride impaired.”

This
is a great campaign and both motorcycle riders and regular drivers need to be
aware of their surroundings and share the road. Everyone has the right to be
out there and the roads and we need to respect each other, especially when the
weather warms up and there is more traffic. 

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