Memorial Day Weekend Is One Of The Busiest Traffic Weekends Of The Year

Next to Thanksgiving, Memorial Day is one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. According to AAA auto club close to 42 million Americans plan to take travel over Memorial Day weekend. This is a five (5) percent increase from last year.

In Illinois 2.04 million people plan to travel, which is an increase of four percent from 2017. Unfortunately, we will also see some of the highest gas prices in several years. It is estimated that the Illinois average for a gallon of gas is $2.95 is up from $2.70 last month, and $2.39 last year.

Based on past numbers, AAA expects to help approximately 340,000 motorists over the weekend.

This Friday, May 25, between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm is supposed to be the busiest travel period over the weekend.

A few tips to ensure you have a safe road trip:

  1. Check your battery before heading out on an extended road trip.
  2. Check alternate routes and times for leaving so as to avoid the heaviest traffic
  3. Buckle up. Not only for safety purposes, but also, state troopers will be out in full force ticketing speeders and those no wearing their seat belts.
  4. Put the phone aside. For everyone’s safety, put your phone aside and stick with the hands free technology. This is always the safest way, but especially true when there are so many people out on the road.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, please call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Illinois’ Distracted Driving Awareness Week Took Place At End Of April

Illinois’ second annual Distracted Driving Awareness week took place the week of April 20-27.  Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness Week, is a collaboration between the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, AAA,  IDOT, Illinois State Police, the Illinois High School & College Driver Education Association and nearly 300 law enforcement agencies in Illinois.  According to the Illinois State Police, the use of a cell phone while driving increases your chances of getting into a car crash by 400%.

Once of the local law enforcement agents that participated in the initiative was the town of Naperville. According to the Naperville Sun, their local police department issued over 350 distracted driving tickets during the month of April.   221 of the tickets were written the week of April 23-27, as part Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness Week. The rest were issued as part of the Illinois Drop It And Drive program conducted from April 16-30, according to a Naperville police news release.

Current Illinois Distracted Driving Laws include: mobile phones may only be used in hands-free mode or wireless earpiece, and drivers under the age of 19 may not use a phone in any way while driving. Breaking distracted driving laws in Illinois is considered a traffic offense, and first violation carries a fine of $75. Second violation has a $100 fine, $125 for third, and $150 for each subsequent offense. Causing an accident which results in injury while breaking Illinois distracted driving laws is considered “Aggravated use of electronic communication device”, carrying much harsher fines and penalties.

Hopefully we will see area law enforcement continue to crack down on distracted drivers throughout the year and not just in April

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Will Southwest Airlines Passenger Fatality Lead To More Thorough Engine Inspections?

Whether you fly Southwest Airlines or not, it was terrifying to hear about the passenger death occurred last month on that airline while the plain was mid-flight. Specifically, while in the air, the Southwest 737  engine failed, causing a blast the shattered a window and eventually killing one passenger.

Reports have indicated that a cursory inspection of the engine just two (2) days before this incident revealed that the engine seemed to be in perfect working condition.  Robert L. Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”), said a blade in the engine had broken in two places — where the blade attaches to the main hub and higher up, approximately at the midpoint of the blade. He said that a crack “was on the interior of the fan blade,” and that it was “more than likely not detectable from looking from the outside.”

Days after the incident, investigators are concluding that a simple visual inspection of an engine may not be enough. According to the New York Times, the company who manufactures the engine, CFM International,  recommended that airlines conduct ultrasound inspections of the blades. In the United States, carriers aren’t required to follow manufacturers’ guidelines.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is now issuing a directive that all airlines follow CFM’s recommendation to perform the more thorough ultrasound inspection. Unfortunately this is a few weeks too late.

It is important to point out that the NTSB still has not concluded what the root cause of he blade to break apart. It could have been, as suggested above, a lax inspection process. Or possibly a design defect in the engine.

I believe we will see a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of the deceased passenger. They will no doubt name both Southwest and the engine manufacturer as defendants in the case. The interesting thing in this case, which does not bode well for Southwest, is that the Plaintiff’s attorney and the engine manufacturer will argue that they recommended ultrasound inspections for all engines over a year prior to this incident. Southwest did not follow these instructions, and that could be viewed as negligent behavior. It could be argued that Southwest had notice of the potential issue and that the time and cost of this more intense inspection were minimal. Failure to do this inspection was negligent behavior that caused this accident. It will be interesting to see what happens and whether a lawsuit is eventually filed.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a Chicago personal injury accident, then call Chicago accident lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation.

National Construction Work Zone Awareness Week Included Chicago Event

Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn, who spoke at a National Work Zone Awareness Week event in Chicago last month stated: “Slow down, put the phone down, pay attention to your surroundings… you could save a life and more than likely it will be your own, as 4 out of 5 work zone fatalities are not our workers but drivers traveling through work zones.”

The Chicago Tribune reported recently that construction zone traffic fatalities have risen nationally, but fortunately, decreased in Illinois last year. There were 44 and 46 Illinois construction zone deaths in 2015 and 2016, but only 29 in 2017. Nationally there were 765 in 2016, a 7 percent increase from 2015.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is touting efforts made with law enforcement to help make construction zones safer as the reason for the improvements. Specifically, IDOT has been working with the Illinois State Police to help improve safety by cracking down on speeders and distracted drivers within construction zones.

Nationally, the excuses for the increase in deaths appear to be the same. Paul Pisano, team leader for road weather and work zone management for the Federal Highway Administration blamed the increase in traffic deaths to there being on the road, distracted driving and the amount of construction work being done.

Hopefully other states, and the federal government, can take a look at Illinois, and the efforts made with law enforcement to help improve safety in construction zones nationwide.  Illinois is far from perfect when it comes to traffic safety as there have been increases in pedestrian deaths in recent years. But hopefully the improvements seen in construction zones can be applied to all areas of traffic safety.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076