Chicago’s Lakefront Trail Construction To Be Completed By End Of Year

The Chicago Sun Times reported last week about the construction developments for the lakefront trail. According to the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), all efforts to revamp the trail will be completed by the end of 2018.

The purpose for all of the construction that has taken place the last several years has been to create separate lanes for cyclists and runners/walkers. Their goal is to make a safer path, which would reduce the number of collisions between bikers and runners.

The remaining construction includes the Navy Pier flyover, which included a ramp that will carry users over two busy intersections and connect to the Lake Shore Drive underpass. Currently, pedestrians and cyclists have to use the sidewalk underneath Lakeshore Drive, which is often congested and dangerous.

Much of the construction is complete, which covers an eighteen (18) mile stretch from Ardmore on the North side to 71st street on the South side. There are pockets where construction is set to start in August, but is said to be complete by the end of the year.

I have praised this construction project since it was announced over a year ago. Separate lanes for cyclists and runners was a bold project, but it seems to be working. The areas where the construction is complete has made the lakefront much less congested, which will hopefully  lead to less accidents.

Should you or a loved one be injured in a Chicago bicycle accident, or Chicago car accident, please call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

City of Chicago To Use Data And Analytics To Reduce Car Crashes

The City of Chicago Department of Transportation (“CDOT”) issued a press release this week regarding their “Vision Zero” plan, which is an effort to eliminate all pedestrian traffic deaths in the city by the year 2026. The plan was introduced one year ago.

As part of their  release, CDOT announced it has entered a data partnership with Arity, a subsidiary of The Allstate Insurance. Arity is a connected car technology company that collects nearly one billion miles of driving and connected car data per month from more than one million mobile phone and in-car devices. Arity has a unique, user centric view of a city’s mobility patterns and ability to identify driving behaviors that carry the most risk and cause severe traffic accidents.  CDOT stated that it will be using the data and predictive analytics to better understand the risk factors of specific segments of roadways and intersections throughout Chicago.

From the release: “partnership will be used help the City identify the risk factors on specific roadways and help determine where to best prioritize and focus investments in infrastructure and traffic safety resources, as well as how to tailor interventions to improve road safety in Chicago.”

I think this is an incredibly important investment by the city.  I imagine that the use of this advanced data will  city will be able to determine where to put additional cross-walk and pedestrian signs, where to add four-way stops, where widen roads and I’m sure other safety measures.

It’s interesting that this was just announced. As I wrote within the last few weeks, pedestrian deaths in Chicago are outpacing the number of fatalities over the last several years. “Vision Zero” is off to a slow start, but hopefully this partnership with Arity will help curb that trend.

If you or a loved on has been seriously injured in a Chicago pedestrian accident or Chicago traffic accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Jeep Cherokee And Ford Explorer Receive Worst Grades On Crash Test

Multiple news outlets reported this week that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety performed crash tests on eight (8) different SUV vehicles. The crash test mimics what would be considered a violent and dangerous type of collision. Of all the vehicles tested, the Jeep Cherokee and the Ford Explorer were the only vehicles to receive a “poor” rating.

In the test, a vehicle is propelled at 40 miles an hour and strikes a barrier with just the outermost part of the bumper on the passenger’s side. It is designed to mimic the impact of a vehicle with another car or a tree or pole with just the outer part of the bumper. The occupant compartment on the Grand Cherokee was also crushed inward in the test. The crash test dummy’s head sunk into the front airbag so far that it hit the dashboard. Also, the side airbag failed to deploy while driver’s side door also opened. That allowed the dummy’s head to move outside the vehicle. Leg injuries were seen as likely and head injuries possible.

In a response email, Ford stated: “In an email, Ford said that the Explorer is safe, and has earned top scores in all other crash tests. The automaker added that a new version of the Explorer will go on sale next year, and that it expects that car will earn top scores in all Insurance Institute and government crash tests, including the small overlap test.”

What does this mean for both of these car makers? For one, I think it opens the door for auto defect lawsuits if serious injuries result from these types of crashes. In most jurisdictions (states), there are two (2) types of auto defect claims. The first is an auto product liability case, which arises when a car defect causes the accident which results in serious injury or death.  These types of auto defects are referred to as crash causing defects.  An example of a crash causing auto defect is the tread separation of a defective tire which results in the driver losing control of the vehicle.

The second type of auto defect case arises when a vehicle fails to provide reasonable crash protection to its occupants.  This type of case is often referred to as a crash worthiness case.

For the above vehicles, if there are cases where drivers are seriously injured in violent crashes as described above, I think we could see a rise in crash worthiness auto defect lawsuits against both car makers.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a 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.

Active Transportation Alliance Calls For Safety Improvements On Chicago’s Roads

An alarming eighteen (18) pedestrians have been struck and killed in Chicago this year. That is up from a total of fourteen (14) through all of 2017. The Chicago Sun Times reported today that the Active Transportation Alliance, a community protection group, is calling for immediate changes from city legislators.  The group is calling for proposing lower speed limits, more speed cameras and a $20 million-a-year fund to pay for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “Vision Zero,” which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2026.

The group is asking that the money go to multiple improvements including: better-lit crosswalks and countdown timers; pedestrian-refuge islands on wider streets; narrowing streets and re-striping the width of lanes to force motorists to slow down and installing bump-out curbs that force turning vehicles to go slower and make wider turns.

Neither Mayor Emanuel or the cities’ transportation department has responded to these requests by the Active Transportation Alliance.

I think most of these improvements are needed. My only issue has to do with the speeder cameras. I don’t think there is enough evidence yet showing that these cameras are an actual deterrent or make our streets safer. As I have written multiple times in the past, we know for sure that the red light cameras have not made intersections safer. Multiple studies from Texas A&M University have shown that overall the cameras have not actually reduced accidents. I think the jury is still out on the speeder cameras.

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.

Apple Introducing App To Curb Smart Phone Addiction

CBS News reported this week that Apple is introducing a new app to help people that may be addicted to – – yes this is correct – – their own telephone. The new app will allow users to set limits on the phone in general, or choose to set limits for certain apps, such as social media. When the limit is reached, the device will shut down. Those who choose to use this new feature can also sync the monitor limits among devices, so you can’t switch over and keep surfing on your iPad or Macbook. Google also announced plans to help monitor smartphone use on Android devices.

Full disclosure, if my wife reads this I’m certain she will ask me to download this app immediately and ask me to apply it toward my Twitter usage. Regardless, this will be interesting technology that car makers and lawmakers to look at regarding phone use in vehicles. With the epidemic of distracted driving traffic accidents occurring in our country, I wonder if this type of technology could be used to prevent hand held phone use for drivers. Currently, laws banning cell phone use while driving is not preventing the number of car accidents around the country.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a 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.

Tesla Admits Autopilot Is Not Accident Proof After Latest Car Crash

CBS New reported last week that another one of their vehicles that was in Autopilot mode was involved in a traffic accident. On May 29 a 65 year old man drove his Tesla sedan into a parked Laguna Beach, CA, police vehicle. Luckily the police officer was not in his vehicle at the time of the car crash, and the Tesla owner suffered only minor injuries.

I’m posting this story, not to rehash what I have discussed the last several weeks, but rather to point this statement they made after this latest accident:

““When using Autopilot, drivers are continuously reminded of their responsibility to keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of the vehicle at all times,” the company said in a statement after Tuesday’s crash. “Tesla has always been clear that Autopilot doesn’t make the car impervious to all accidents, and before a driver can use Autopilot, they must accept a dialogue box which states that ‘Autopilot is designed for use on highways that have a center divider and clear lane markings.’”

It’s clear to me at this point that despite all the “safety” claims made by industry experts, the autopilot technology is not fool proof. There still will be auto accidents. Also, it’s important to point out that autopilot should only be used on the highway. If that is the case, then why on earth was this gentleman driving in autopilot on a Laguna Beach side street? If the technology didn’t fail in that situation, then an argument could be made by Tesla that the owner/driver was negligent for putting his vehicle in autopilot at the wrong time.

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

Illinois State Police Enforcement Effort Leads To Nearly 6,000 Traffic Citations Memorial Day Weekend

CBS Chicago reported recently that the Illinois State Police’s (“ISP”) effort to crack down on traffic violations over the busy Memorial Day Weekend led to 5,924 traffic citations and 5,206 written.

Illinois State Troopers efforts included 109 drunk driving arrests and 815 seat belt citations.  ISP also provided assistance to approximately 1,300 stranded motorists. “I am very proud of the hard work displayed by the men and women of the Illinois State Police,” said ISP Director Leo Schmitz. “I am confident their enforcement efforts resulted in lives being saved.”

I think these numbers are encouraging, especially as it was predicted that this year would be one of the busiest traffic weekends of the year. Regardless, I would like to see how many of those citations were for distracted driving. Also, I would like to see the Illinois accident numbers compared to those over the last five (5) years. I think this would provide us some context as to whether the ISP’s enforcement efforts are actually reducing the number of traffic accidents.

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