NHTSA Announces “5 To Drive” To Promote Safety For Teen Drivers

The National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration announced a new campaign last week, “5 to Drive,” to
reduce the high rate of teen driver deaths. The campaign challenges parents to
discuss driver safety with their children. The announcement coincided with
National Teen Driver Safety Week, which took place October 20-26. 

“Safety is our
highest priority, especially when it comes to teens, who are often our least
experienced drivers,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
“The ‘5 to Drive’ campaign gives parents and teens a simple,
straightforward checklist that can help them talk about good driving skills and
most importantly, prevent a tragedy before it happens.”

 The
“5 to Drive” campaign encourages parents to visit 
www.safercar.gov/parents/teendriving and
discuss with their teens one safety topic each day during national teen driver
safety week. The “5 to Drive” campaign topics are:

 

1.     
No cell phone use or texting while
driving,

2.     
No extra passengers,

3.     
No speeding,

4.     
No alcohol, and

5.     
No driving or riding without a seat
belt.

These probably appear to be fairly
obvious safety considerations for all drivers, but teens can be forgetful and
cavalier when they begin driving and it is important to continue to remind them
of these very easy things to do before getting behind the wheel.

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

IL Governor Quinn Signs A Statewide Ban On Hand Held Cell Phone Use While Driving

I mentioned this in a
recent blog post and The Chicago Tribune, reported the same back in
August that Illinois Governor Quinn has signed a bill banning a hand held cell
phone use for drivers. This new law will take effect on January 1, 2014. Fines
for driving and using a cell phone (talking, texting, emailing, using the
internet) will start at $75. The only cell phone use allowed for drivers is
hands-free technology such as blue tooth devices. The only other exception for cell
phone use will be in the case of an emergency.

“Too
many Illinois families have suffered because of accidents that could have been
prevented,” Quinn said in a statement. “Anyone driving a car should be careful,
responsive and alert behind the wheel.”

Quinn also signed a
measure into law that would increase penalties for drivers who injure or kills
others in crashes caused by the use of a cell phone or other electronic device.

Distracted motorists who
harm other drivers would face a Class A misdemeanor, which could result in
fines up to $2,500 and less than a year of jail time. Drivers involved in fatal car accidents could be charged with a Class 4 felony, which carries fines up to
$25,000 and up to three years of jail time.  That measure also goes into
effect January 1, 2014.

I think we have to take our hats off to the Illinois legislature and Governor Quinn for stepping up to the plate and finally enacting stiffer penalties for those who injure or kill others while texting and driving. I have been calling for this for years and it is good to see that state of Illinois finally take action. 

If you or someone you
know 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.

Illinois State Police Cracking Down On Distracted Driving

The
Chicago Sun-Times
 reported
recently on the efforts of the Illinois State Police to crack down on
distracted driving, including a warning issued to a man who was shaving while
driving down the Kennedy Expressway. Yes, just like texting, shaving while
driving is distracting and can cause auto accidents. Spotters were looking down
on the southbound lanes of the Kennedy at both Montrose and Addison, alerting
other troopers which cars to stop. One trooper also was shooting video of
distracted drivers, said Illinois State Police Lt. David Byrd.  135 motorists were ticketed for distracted driving
between 7 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. in one morning last month, said Monique Bond, a
spokeswoman for the Illinois State Police. The tickets carry a $120 fine.

Electronic
signs on the Kennedy warn drivers of the anti-texting operation. A Chicago
ordinance bans drivers from talking on their phones, but state police don’t
enforce it, Byrd said. State troopers will enforce a statewide ban when it
takes effect Jan. 1, he said.

That’s right. Starting
January 1, 2014, a state-wide ban of hand held devices while driving goes into
effect. This will require any driver to use a blue to tooth or hands free phone
device when driving.

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

Chicago Officials Announce Reduction In Red Light Cameras

There has been quite a bit news
lately about the installation of speeder cameras being installed outside school
zones and parks throughout Chicago. These cameras, which I have written about
multiple times the last few months, began issuing tickets last week. Not
forgotten among all this recent press are the much criticized red light
cameras. As reported by The Chicago Sun-Times, the city
announced earlier this month that they are removing cameras from 18
intersections. Mayor Emanuel announced through a press release that these
intersections are no longer a threat for car accidents and that there is no
longer a need for the cameras at these intersections. “Automated traffic
enforcement, whether through red-light or speed cameras, is about changing
drivers’ behavior. Cameras at these intersections are now showing a low
level of (car) crashes and dangerous angle crashes, which means an enhanced
level of safety.”

The red light cameras have created a
lot of revenue for the city, but many have argued that they are unnecessary and
that they do not make intersections any safer. Earlier this year,
Inspector General Joe Ferguson concluded there was no evidence to substantiate
the city’s claim that red-light cameras have either reduced accidents or are
installed at the most dangerous intersections. But Ferguson said the Chicago
Department of Transportation (“CDOT”) was unable to produce evidence
that accident data was used in the selection of red-light camera locations or
that CDOT continually evaluates accident data to relocate cameras to the
most-dangerous spots.

Whether red light cameras make our
intersections safer is up for debate. I know there have been studies done in
other cities such as Kansas City, where it was concluded that the cameras
actually make intersections more dangerous. I’m not sure if this is true, but I
would like to see some sort of comprehensive study on all of the red light
camera intersections to determine whether these cameras actually prevent car
accidents and pedestrian accidents.

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. 

Safety Tips For Halloween and Taking Your Kids Trick Or Treating

Halloween is right around the corner
and you can bet that your neighborhood will be packed with vehicle traffic and children walking out and about. 
The Chicago Tribune reported
recently some safety tips provided by Lake County police to keep your children
safe. Although checking candy is important, police insist that traffic is the
biggest safety concern on Halloween night. 

The first tip is for drivers to be
cautious and wary of children crossing the streets. Do not speed and make complete stops and stop signs and pedestrian crossings. Pedestrians always should walk in crosswalks and be
aware of traffic.  In addition, parents should make sure costumes correctly fit their
children so they do not fall and that masks are not inhibiting kids’
vision. 

Finally, it is recommended
that children where some sort of reflective tape or fabric on their costumes so
that they are visible to drivers.

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

Chicago Speed Cameras Began Issuing Tickets This Week

CBS Chicago reported this week that the first ten speeder
cameras at various parks and schools began issuing tickets. Drivers who are
caught speeding by the cameras will be issued one warning before being issued
an actual ticket. The fines range between $35 and $100. Initially drivers will
be fined for driving over ten mph but that will eventually be lowered to six
mph. The city also has plans to expand the number of cameras up to fifty within
the next several months. 
The city has said the cameras will be placed only at
so-called “Children’s Safety Zones” within 1/8 mile of parks or
schools. Cameras placed at parks would operate only when the parks are
open. Cameras placed at schools would operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on school
days.

City officials continue
to refute that the cameras were installed as a money making venture. 
Chicago Department of
Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein disagreed with those who think the
city’s only trying to raise money with the cameras. “This idea that
speeding is not breaking the law is silly,” he said. Klein said, in other
cities that have installed speed cameras, speeding have gone down dramatically.

I am
eagerly awaiting the number of tickets that are issued and how much money the
city earns from these cameras. Further, I will be interested to see if the
number of car accidents and pedestrian accidents decreases in the areas
compared to parts of the city without cameras. 

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

NTSB Issues Statement On Chicago Blue Line Crash

The Chicago
Tribune
 reported over the weekend that the National Traffic Safety
Board (“NTSB”) 
issued a report on the rogue “ghost train” that slammed
into another train at the Harlem stop. According to the NTSB, the ghost train
that did not have a conductor or any passengers
had
been left with the power still on in a storage yard by CTA workers.
 Apparently, the unoccupied CTA trains are “routinely left powered-up
while stored and with the brake setting that would allow movement.’’

The
runaway four-car train was parked in the yard, at the western terminus of the
Forest Park branch, with power to the propulsion system, lights and other
equipment activated for possibly days before the incident, said a source close
to the investigation, speaking on condition of anonymity.


The new developments surfaced as the NTSB issued
two “urgent safety recommendations’’ Friday addressing “the need for redundant
protection to prevent unintended train movements on the CTA system.’’

CTA
officials have yet to make any comments regarding this report from the NTSB. I
think everyone from the injured passengers to the CTA should be grateful that
there were not any life threatening injuries as a result of the accident. No
other details have been released about the type of injuries involved in this
train accident. I think the CTA should expect lawsuits on this matter and will
need to re-evaluate its practices for their parked trains.

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

CTA Blue Line Collision Leaves Dozens Injured

As several local Chicago
news outlets, including CBS Chicago, reported Monday that two Blue
Line trains collided head on at the Forest Park stop, leaving dozens injured.
The puzzling part about this train accident is that one of the trains was
running without a conductor. 

Police
were investigating the possibility that somebody deliberately caused the train accident. However, CTA and federal officials believe the crash was likely an
accident. The National Transportation Safety Board was in charge of the
investigation. Suspicion that the train was stolen or hijacked was raised
because the train that caused the train crash only had four cars. Rush hour trains
typically have many more cars and would not have left the train yard with so
few cars.
 The CTA has confirmed
that the eastbound train was on the wrong tracks.

Of the 40 people that
were on the train sitting at the Forest Park stop, 33 were injured and treated
at local hospitals. 

The CTA will have
multiple questions to answer on how such an accident occurred. Apparently
surveillance cameras in the area where the rogue train would have taken off
were not working. I will update this once more questions are answered about
this unusual train accident.

Should you or someone
you love become injured in a Chicago train accident or Chicago bus accident,
then call Chicago personal injury attorney Aaron Bryant for a free legal consultation at 312-588-3384.