Illinois Passes Bill To Increase Minimum Auto Insurance Coverage

The Chicago Tribune reported
this week that the Illinois House and Senate passed a bill that would increase
the minimum automobile insurance coverage to $25,000 for injury or death to one
person. That is up from $20,000, which has been the minimum amount for the past
24 years. 

It would also minimum coverage to
$50,000 for injury or death of two people, up from $40,000.

“The rates have not been changed in
24 years and do not keep pace with rising medical costs,” said proponent and
state Rep. Laura Fine, a Glenview Democrat. “This will save people who are
injured in an accident that is no fault of their own from some of the
out-of-pocket medical costs they may incur.

Rep. Fine is correct. Many times
drivers are seriously injured in car accidents and they incur medical bills that
exceed the amount of insurance coverage. As a Chicago car crash attorney, I
have seen this happen multiple times with my clients. Not only do innocent accident
victims suffer, but hospitals, physicians and other medical facilities can be
short changed for their services. I think this law needed to be changed years
ago. It has passed the Senate and House and fully expect Governor Quinn to sign
when it reaches his desk.

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 legal consultation at
312-588-3384. 

Study Shows Voice To Text Just As Dangerous Than Manually Texting And Driving

The Texas A&M
Traffic Institute (TTI) recently conducted a study on the dangers of voice to
text while driving. As I have written here in the past, the reaction time for
drivers while manually texting is remarkably dangerous – – almost as dangerous
as driving under the influence of alcohol. Up to this point, no studies had
been conducted on the reaction times for drivers who use the voice to text
method through applications like Siri and Vingo.

For the
experiment, associate transportation researcher at TTI
Christine Yager gathered 43 participants, who drove an instrumented
vehicle on a closed course at the Texas A&M University Riverside facility,
and measured their reaction time as well as the amount of time spent looking at
the roadway ahead.


“Each participant drove the course four times:
once while not texting, once while texting manually and two more times using
two different voice-to-text mobile applications, Siri and Vingo,” Yager said.


Regardless of which texting method was used, the
voice-to text applications were not found to be any less impairing than
manual-entry texting. According to Yager’s abstract, response times and eye
gazes to the forward roadway were relatively similar within each texting
method.

These
are fascinating findings in this study. I would like to see a much larger study
performed by the National Traffic Safety Board or other governmental
institution to either confirm or deny these findings. If confirmed, then state
and federal lawmakers need to reconsider their anti-texting and driving laws to
include voice to text as this can be equally as dangerous and continue to lead
to traffic accidents.

If you
or someone you love is involved in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truckaccident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a freelegal consultation at 312-588-3384.

Major Cell Phone Providers Join Together For Anti-Texting And Driving Campaign

AT&T is stepping up
to plate again to campaign against texting and driving. As I have written here
in the past, AT&T has launched campaigns before on this issue, but this
time they are being joined by other major carriers such as Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile US, Inc. and more than 200
other organizations. As ABC News in Chicago reported this week, the new
campaign is titled “It Can Wait.” The
 new national advertising campaign, a nationwide
texting-while-driving simulator tour, retail presence in tens of thousands of
stores, and outreach to millions of consumers with a special focus throughout
the summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day-known as the 100 Deadliest
Days on the roads for teen drivers.1 The 2013 campaign drive will culminate on
Sept. 19, when efforts turn towards encouraging everyone to get out in their
community and advocate involvement on behalf of the movement.

The
campaign kicks off May 20, with AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile bringing
a multi-million dollar, co-branded advertising campaign to raise awareness of
the dangers of texting and driving, and encouraging everyone to immediately
take the pledge against it at www.itcanwait.com www.itcanwait.com. The
campaign will focus on the stories of people who are living with the
consequences of texting while driving. Their stories will be told through
various media including TV, radio, digital and social. The first story in the
campaign will be of Xzavier Davis-Bilbo, who in 2010 at five-years-old, was
struck while crossing the street by a young woman texting while driving-leaving
him paralyzed from the waist down.

Also,
government agencies including the U.S. Department of Transportation, National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Transportation Safety Board
have all committed to help end distracted driving and support the efforts of It
Can Wait and others who are working to raise awareness.

This is
the first time that all the cell phone carriers have joined together and
focused on this issue with one major advertising campaign. I think they need to
applauded as we all know texting and driving is a major issue in this country.
But, I will state again, the danger of texting and driving will not go away
until stricter laws are enacted by individual states. Specifically, there need
to be higher fines when someone is caught texting and driving. If someone is
injured in a car accident where it can shown that texting and driving was the
cause, then there needs to be the threat of jail time. In other words, the
charge needs to be raised to a misdemeanor (Class A in Illinois), similar to a
DUI.

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

NTSB Recommends States Lower Blood Alcohol Level That Constitutes Drunk Driving

About fifteen years ago,
the National Traffic Safety Board (“NTSB”) made a huge push in this
country to lower to the blood alcohol content that constitutes drunk driving to
.08. Through the federal government they were able to put pressure on
individual states by withholding federal funding for road construction unless
states complied by enacting the new law. This tactic worked and was basically
applauded by lawmakers and interest groups as it appeared to make the roads
safer against drunk drivers.
 

Flash forward to 2013
and the NTSB is now convinced that states should again lower the legal limit
for driving to .05, this according to a report from NBC Online News. According
to the NTSB 1
0,000
people die in alcohol-related traffic accidents and 170,000 are injured,
according to the NTSB. While that’s a big improvement from the 20,000 who died
in alcohol-related accidents 30 years ago, it remains a consistent threat to
public safety. 

Further,
the NTSB points out most countries in Europe, Asia and Australia have all
lowered the legal BAC limit to .05.  When Australia dropped its BAC level
from .08 to .05, provinces reported a 5-18 percent drop in traffic
fatalities. The NTSB reports that at .05 BAC, some drivers begin having
difficulties with depth perception and other visual functions.  At .07,
cognitive abilities become impaired. 

At .05 BAC, the risk of having an accident increases by 39
percent. At .08 BAC, the risk of having an accident increases by more than 100
percent.

The NTSB believes that if all 50 states changed their standard to
.05, nearly 1,000 lives could be saved each year.  It is also considering
other steps to help bring down the death rates on America’s roads.

The numbers are hard to argue with here.  If drivers fear
being arrested after just a few beers, then there will probably be less drunk
drivers on the road. And, ultimately, this will lead to less car accidents and
traffic fatalities. Regardless, I do not believe this law change is going to
happen overnight. The restaurant, beer and spirit lobby is going push back hard
against this type of rule change. Their argument will be that a lower BAC level
will punish otherwise responsible drinkers and still will not keep hardcore
drinkers off the road. This is a new development worth following in the months
to come.

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

Chicago Mayor Proposes Fine Hikes For Reckless Cyclists And Dooring Accidents

According to a report from the Huffington Post and WGN
News
 this week, Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, has proposed several fine
hikes for bicyclists who disobey traffic laws and also against motorists who
commit a dooring accident (these are accidents where a driver opens their door
on a road causing a collision with a bicyclist).

Currently, bikers caught disobeying
traffic laws face a $25 fine for all offenses. Under Emanuel’s proposed
ordinance, that fine would be increased to an amount ranging from $50 to $200,
“depending on the severity of the violation.”

Drivers would face harsher penalties
for reckless driving as well. Under the proposal, WGN reports the fine for
motorists who “door” a cyclist — hitting bikers with a car door while entering or exiting a vehicle —
would see their fines double from $150 to $300.

According to WBEZ
(NPR News), 
there were 577 reported doorings in Chicago from 2009 through September
7, 2012. 
City and transportation
officials had previously noted many bicycle doorings still go unreported.

There is no doubt
that the roads in Chicago can be dangerous for both bicyclists and motorists
and that for each most co-exist together. Both motorists and bicyclists are, at
times, guilty of negligent behavior and they must be accountable, especially
when a vehicle collision occurs. Hopefully, if these measures will provide the
impetus for both cyclists and motorists to obey the rules of the road, as they
will no longer be facing just a slap on the wrist (i.e. a $25 fine).

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