Chicago City Council Passes Rideshare Ordinance

In a vote that won by a
margin of 34 to 10, the Chicago city council passed a new ordinance that
regulates rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft. Although the new legislation
puts tighter restrictions on these companies, they did not go as far as the
taxi companies would like. There could be further restrictions coming from the
Illinois Legislature within the next few months. A bill has already passed the state House.  the taxi companies have been
lobbying hard within the city and state, looking to ensure that rideshare
companies undergo the same scrutiny that they have been under for years.

The new ordinance
delineates the types of drivers into two categories. Class A drivers
average 20 hours or less per week taking fares and Class B averages more than
20 hours per week. Below is a complete breakdown of restrictions that the
ordinance will require.

Rideshare Class
A:

Fares: Based on a suggested donation, distance
traveled, time elapsed during the trip, both time and distance, or a flat,
pre-arranged fare. Cannot pick up street hails or use taxi stands.
Surge pricing: Must notify the public during price surge periods and provide
riders with a fare quote in actual dollars in addition to the rate multiplier.
City has the right to cap surge pricing.
Licenses: Pay $10,000 for an annual transportation network provider
license.
Insurance: Have $1 million in commercial auto liability per incident
while the driver has accepted a ride until the completion of the ride, $1
million in commercial general liability per occurrence for bodily injury,
personal injury and property damage, and auto liability insurance to cover
drivers when logged into app until the driver accepts a ride.
Advertising: Prohibited on or in rideshare vehicles.
Vehicles: Must pass city-approved vehicle inspection standards. Could
permit smoking. No vehicle age limit. Must display distinctive signage visible
for at least 50 feet.
Drivers: Must be 21 years old and have a valid driver’s license. Cannot
drive more than 10 hours with a 24-hour period. Must complete city-approved
driver training program.
Background checks: Must pass city-approved background check process as conducted
by the rideshare company. Cannot within 12 months have had license suspended or
revoked or convictions of reckless driving, hit and run, driving with a
suspended or revoked license, or more than two moving violations; Cannot have
convictions within five years for felonies, DUIs, crimes of moral turpitude,
sale or possession of controlled substances or any criminal sexual abuse.
Airports/convention center:
 Prohibited unless the city deems
pick-up safe without disrupting traffic flow and collects a tax from companies.
Accessibility
: Required to have apps accessible to visually and
hearing impaired by Jan. 1. Pay 10 cents per ride by a non-wheelchair accessible
vehicle into the accessibility fund. Must offer accessible vehicles and can
contract with third-parties to deliver service.
Ground transportation tax: Pay 20 cents per vehicle per ride
accepted.

Rideshare Class B:

Fares: (Same as Class A) 

Surge pricing: (Same as Class A) 
Licenses: Pay $25,000 for an annual
transportation network provider license. Need a restricted public chauffeurs
license for rideshare drivers. 

Insurance: (Same as Class A) 
Advertising: (Same as Class A) 
Vehicles: Must pass 21-point inspection
annually from third-party licensed mechanic. Allowed to be up to six years old.
Could permit smoking. Must display distinctive signage visible for at least 50
feet.

Drivers: (Same as Class A) 
Background checks: (Same as Class A with
the exception that the city will conduct the background check and drug
test.) 

Airports/convention center: (Same as
Class A) 

Accessibility: (Same as Class A with the
exception paying $100 per year for each non-wheelchair accessible vehicle into
the accessibility fund.) 

Ground transportation tax: Pay $3.50 per
each day the vehicle is used to provide service.

I agree
with what the city council has done in this situation. Specifically, I agree
with the requirement that each vehicle carry $1,000,000 per accident in
insurance coverage and that the drivers undergo background checks and must pass
driver tests. I believe this will better protect passengers and pedestrians and hopefully prevent traffic accidents. One problem I foresee is how it will be determined
who is a Class A or B driver. The city is putting this on the rideshare
companies to monitor themselves. Do we really know or believe that these companies
will follow through and monitor how many hours each of their drivers will be
working and then implement the appropriate restrictions? I guess we will have
to wait and see.

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.

Study Reveals Pregnant Women In 2nd Trimester More Likely To Be Involved In A Car Crash

reported about an interesting new study last week from CMAJ, the Canadian Medical Assn. Journal, regarding
the frequency of car accidents of pregnant women. The study identified
more than 500,000 women who gave birth in Ontario during a five-year period
from 2006 to 2011. They combed through data from Ontario hospitals to see how
often they got into serious car crashes during the three years before they
became pregnant; during each trimester of their pregnancy; and for the first
year after their babies were born. The researchers counted up a total of 6,922
car crashes, which worked out to about 4.55 car crashes per 1,000 women per
year. That was more than double the population-wide average of roughly 2
crashes per 1,000 people per year. During the first month of the first
trimester of pregnancy, the crash rate fell slightly to 4.33 crashes per 1,000
women, the researchers found. However, that difference was too small for the
drop to be considered statistically significant.

ehicle collisions per 1,000
women per year, according to the study. That was the most dangerous month for
pregnant women behind the wheel. For the entire second trimester, the
car crash
rate was 6.47
vehicle collisions per 1,000 women per year, which was 42% higher
than during the baseline period.

Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-588-3384. 

Study Shows Chicago Among Safest Cities For Pedestrian Accidents

Though the numbers show
pedestrian auto accidents and pedestrian deaths have been on the rise in
Chicago and around the country since 2007, a new study reveals Chicago is one
of the safest among big cities. The Chicago Sun Times reported
about a study titled “Dangerous by Design,” performed by the National
Complete Streets Coalition. The study revealed that Chicago ranked number
 45 among the country’s
51 largest metro areas for pedestrians killed per 100,000 residents over five years,
from 2008 to 2012, according to the study. 

I
think Chicago officials need to be recognized for their part in trying to make
streets safer for pedestrians. 
 In 2012, then-Chicago Department of Transportation
Commissioner Gabe Klein included a goal of zero traffic fatalities by 2020 in
his 2012 “Chicago Forward” plan.  It called for 20-mph zones in all city
residential areas, as well as more mid-block crossings, refuge street “islands”
and crosswalks. Other elements: giving pedestrians signalized head-starts ahead
of cars at intersections; more pedestrian countdown clocks at signal lights;
speed cameras around parks and schools; and continued red light camera speed
enforcement.

Since then, city pedestrian fatalities have
dropped from 47 in 2012 to an estimated 29 in 2013, said CDOT spokesman Pete
Scales. “We’re starting to make headway,” Scales said.

It will be interesting to see if Chicago
reaches the goal of zero fatalities by 2020. The city is definitely doing their
part, although I would like to see more data and studies in school and park
zones where the speeding cameras have been installed.

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
312-614-1076. 

Number Of Distracted Driving Tickets In Illinois Has Tripled

According to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, the number of cell phone tickets issued by Illinois State Police have tripled from this time last year. According to the report. From January 1 to April 30 of this year, state police wrote 3,307 tickets for distracted driving, nearly triple the number during the same period of 2013. 

A first offense for driving and using a cell phone draws a $75 fine. If the distracted driver causes a car crash that injures someone, they can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable up to a year in jail. In Chicago, which had a total ban on cell phone use while driving prior to the state ban, police have issued 16,500 tickets so far this year.
I have written on this subject numerous times in the past and continuously called for stiffer penalties. I was happy to see the state step up and issue the complete ban, which started in 2014. I think a Class A misdemeanor charge is appropriate for distracted drivers cause a traffic accident that results in an injury (this is the same level of charge for a first time DUI). I think a $75 fine for a first time offense may be a little bit too lenient. Drivers are not putting down their phones, which is obvious by the increased number of tickets. If the state (and city of Chicago) want to prevent distracted driving then they should increase the fine and/or make it a moving violation.
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. 

New Chicago Red Light Cameras Have 360 Degree Panning Ability

The Chicago Sun Times reported last week about new red light
cameras that were installed in numerous intersections around the city. These
new cameras have the technology that allows them to view 360 degrees around the
intersection. The cameras, which are supposed to monitor traffic infractions at
specific intersections, can now monitor what is happening on the streets and
sidewalks that completely surround the intersections.

This has raised the
eyebrows of many, including the Illinois chapter of the American Civil
Liberties Union (“ACLU”). “There is a mission creep. These
cameras that were put up for the purpose of traffic enforcement now have
360-capability, which is not part of traffic enforcement, but is for other
purposes,” stated Adam Schwartz, a senior attorney for the American Civil
Liberties Union of Illinois. “Where we go says a lot about who we are.
Whether we’re going to the union meeting, to see a criminal defense lawyer or
to worship, we need safeguards to ensure that the government isn’t using these
ever-expanding camera systems to monitor what people are doing.”

Adam Collins, a police spokesman, insisted the department isn’t
abusing citizens’ rights with surveillance cameras — whether they’re red-light
cameras, the “blue-light” cameras in violent neighborhoods or Chicago Transit
Authority cameras.  “All cameras are used for legitimate law-enforcement
purposes and investigation,” Collins said.

We won’t really know whether these cameras invade privacy until
there is an arrest made of someone caught on video outside of the actual
intersection, and the issue is actually argued in Court. These cameras were
installed to make intersections safe for drivers and pedestrians and to,
hopefully, prevent car accidents and pedestrian accidents. It will be interesting to see if the Chicago
police stay true to their word and only use the cameras for traffic monitoring
purposes.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car accident, Chicago pedestrian accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney,
Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076. 

Mayor Emanuel Responds To Report On Speeding Motorcade

A recent report from CBS News
Chicago stated that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s  motorcade
was caught speeding or running red lights 20 times since 2012. The alarming
part of this report as that the speeding and stop sign running was caught by
the cameras placed in school zones by Emanuel. He has been adamant since day
one of these cameras that they were installed for safety purposes (to protect
children) rather than as a revenue stream for the city.

At a news
conference today, Mr. Emanuel had a chance to respond to the report. “As
soon as I saw that, or heard about it, the story, I said, ‘Look, follow the
law. Nobody’s above the law. Slow down, period. Non-stop,” Emanuel said. 

I think we will all
be following his motorcade closely from here on out to see if the mayor will
practice what he preaches. The cameras were placed there to, you know, deter
people from speeding and running stop signs.

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 legal consultation at 312-614-1076. 

Chicago Rideshare Companies Await Senate, City Votes

I have written quite a
bit the last month about proposed city ordinances and state bills looking to
regulate rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft. Last month the Illinois House
passed a bill that put stricter requirements on rideshare drivers, which are
similar to what cab drivers face. That bill is now going to the Senate.
Meanwhile, an ordinance with fewer restrictions is being discussed by the
Chicago city council. 

The main issue on the
state level is the amount and type of liability insurance rideshare drivers
must carry and the type of driver’s license must be obtained. The state bill
would require driver’s carry $500,000 of coverage from the time the app is
turned on in the driver’s car. 

The state bill would
also require drivers obtain a chauffer’s license, just like all cab drivers.
 The state bill would require this type of license if the driver works
over 18 hours per week looking for fares. The city ordinance would increase the
amount of hours before requiring a chauffer’s license. 

I will be watching this
very closely and will update if and when the bill reaches the Senate for a
vote. I think it’s almost a certain that all sides (taxi companies, rideshare
companies and legislators) are working behind the scenes looking for a
compromise. I believe the rideshare companies should be required to have at
least the type of insurance coverage (minimum $350,000) that taxi companies
use. The question remains whether their drivers should be required to obtain a chauffer’s
license. I would say yes because they are essentially chauffeuring people around
the city for money and customers are putting their life and health into their
hands.

If you or someone you
know has been involved in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident,
then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legalconsultation at 312-614-1076.