Driver Safety Tips For Your Next Road Trip

I recently received an email from someone at the Million Mile Secrets website with a link to a recent article about safety tips for road trips. This is a website that offers advice about maximizing travel reward point, but also like to give overall travel tips and advise. This recent article provided a great checklist before heading out on your next road trip. I thought it would be helpful to share those tips here.

First is their to do list regarding vehicle safety:

  • Your vehicle has been inspected by a qualified mechanic.  Check your tires, battery, belts, fluids, air conditioner, engine, brakes, windshield wipers, and more.
  • The spare tire is in good condition.  And that you’ve got a vehicle jack.  And that you’ll have Wi-Fi to search “How to change a tire” on YouTube.
  • You have a gallon of antifreeze
  • To bring an empty 1-gallon gas container.  Although let’s face it… the type of person who completely runs out of gas is usually not the type of person who reads these kinds of articles on preparation.  So share this with that one friend you have!   Also, NEVER carry gasoline in your car.
  • To bring a back-up battery for your mobile phone and/or a car charger
  • To have plenty of drinking water, sunscreen, and other items to keep your body healthy
  • To have a paper map in case you don’t have power.  Or at least download maps to your phone in case you don’t have reliable cell service throughout the entire trip
  • You bring your driver’s license and registration, copy of car insurance policy and contact numbers, car’s manual

Second is a safety checklist of items to carry with you, no matter how short you getaway may be:

  • First-aid kit with your prescription drugs, pain relievers, antiseptic, bandages, scissors, medical tape, motion sickness medicine
  • Road flares
  • Extra bottles of drinking water — gallons would be great
  • Rain ponchos / Umbrellas
  • Fully-charged car jump-starter (I have one of these gizmos.  It’s clutch when you can’t find someone to jump your car.)
  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • Blankets, pillows, or sleeping bags
  • Warm clothes if it’s cold
  • Snacks / food / energy bars
  • Diapers / baby supplies
  • Sanitary pads
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toilet paper
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Bug spray
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Cash
  • And your credit card that gives your professional roadside assistance

Obviously this list in not exhaustive, but it definitely provides a good summary of things you may need in case of an emergency.  If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

CTA To Add 50 New HD Cameras On Train Lines And Buses

Those of us who use the CTA’s trains and buses around Chicago on a daily basis have been somewhat troubled by the slew of crimes that have occurred recently. There have been results of multiple robberies and muggings, especially on the red line, which is a north-south train line that runs from Howard Street on the northside all the way south to 95th Street.  To help combat this issue, the CTA recently announced they will be installing 50 high definition (“HD”) cameras along train stops and buses throughout the area.

These additional cameras are part of the  “Safe and Secure” multi-million dollar project, which, according to the CTA will be one of the most comprehensive surveillance camera networks used by a transit agency. When the upgrade is finished, there will be 1,000 new HD cameras throughout the CTA system and upgrading more than 3,800 older-model cameras across the system. CTA officials believe that if someone commits a crime on a train or bus, there will be a clear video of the incident and they will be caught.

This is money well spent by the CTA and good for the city. Commuters want to feel safe when heading to and from work or just visiting other parts of town. Further, tourists want to feel safe before they plan a trip to Chicago. Other than putting multiple police officers at every stop and on every train and bus, this seems like the most sensible way to combat crime on the CTA.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a Chicago train accident or Chicago bus accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

How The U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision in Janus vs. AFSCME Will Affect Illinois Workers

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision in Janus vs. AFSCME, that requiring all public sector workers pay their “fair share” of union dues despite receiving many of the benefits, is unconstitutional. The Court held that requiring payment of these fees was a violation of the worker’s First Amendment rights.  The idea behind the law requiring fees from all employees is that the non-union public employees benefit from collective bargaining of the union so they should pay their fair share for the union’s representation, even if they aren’t union members. The ruling strikes down the laws in 23 states (including Illinois).

To clarify, Illinois public sector, non-union members were already allowed to opt-out of the paying fees for explicit political union activity. But Janus argued that, because public sector unions are by definition negotiating with the government, even workplace negotiations over hours or wages amount to political speech. So, a worker who opposed the union’s collective bargaining efforts was having his or her First Amendment rights violated.

To me, the argument by Janus was incredibly rich. Here he is receiving ALL the benefits from the union (better wages, better group health insurance, pension, sick leave etc..), without having to pay all of the fees because he does not believe, politically, in unions. Now, based on this ruling, he and other union members, can opt out of paying all of their union fees.

What does this mean for the public sector unions in Illinois and around the country? I think it is clear that this is a huge blow to unions. Legal scholars and union activists are estimating  10% to 30% unionized public employees might now decide to stop paying union fees. That could cause public-sector unions to lose $1 billion in revenue, perhaps forcing them to lay off lobbyists and organizers. The eventual fallout means it will be much more difficult to lobby and negotiate for a higher minimum wage, better student-teacher ratios, better health insurance etc. Unions have never been weaker in this country than they are now.

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

Do’s And Dont’s When Involved In A Car Accident

It is summertime and there are more vehicle out on the road right now than any other time of year. Unfortunately, this can lead to a lot of car and truck accidents. If you are in a situation where you become involved in a traffic accident, it is incredibly important follow specific steps in order to protect your rights.

Below is a comprehensive list of things to do and not do if involved in a car crash:

• Do get names, addresses, license plate and phone numbers of those drivers involved. This includes any witnesses;
• Do call the police immediately or have someone at the scene call for you;
• Do take photographs of scene and injuries;
• Do take care of your injuries-concentrate on getting better (i.e. go to the emergency room or set an appointment with your primary care physician);
• Do keep records of your medical treatment and time missed from work;       • Do make sure to purchase adequate full coverage auto insurance, including uninsured motorist coverage in case you are struck by an uninsured driver or the victim of a hit and run;
• Don’t talk or give statement to the other driver’s insurance company;
• Don’t attempt to negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company before your medical treatment is completed;
• Don’t wait months from the date of injury before hiring an attorney, as your right to file claim or lawsuit may be barred; and
• Don’t wait days or weeks from the time you are injured to seek medical attention. Your health comes first and also insurance companies are wary of paying for medical bills if treatment is postponed.

This is not an exhaustive list, but they are simple steps you can take in order to protect your rights as accident victim. Should you or a loved become seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, at 312-614-1076 for a free legal consultation.

Chicago To Add Five New Speeder Cameras This Summer

The Chicago Department of Transportation (“CDOT”) announced last week that they would be adding five (5) new speeder cameras around the city by the end of the summer. Two (2) of the cameras will be placed at Hiawatha and Kosciuszko parks on the Northwest Side. The other three (3) cameras will be placed near Major Hector P. Garcia MD High School on the Southwest Side, Near North Montessori School on the Near Northwest Side and Gary Comer College Prep High School on the South Side.

CDOT told the Chicago Tribune that ““Automated speed enforcement is a proven deterrent to speeding, and one of the most effective tools in our toolbox for reducing speeding and saving lives.” They further pointed out that this was another step in Mayor Emanuel’s “Vision Zero” plan, which is aimed at eliminating all traffic accident deaths by the year 2026.

I have written on the site multiple times about red light and speed cameras. Based on multiple studies (and a bribery scandal), the red light cameras have come under a lot of scrutiny for any safety value added to the community. On the other hand, speeder cameras, have not undergone as much scrutiny. For one, they are newer to Chicago and we don’t know the actual net impact they are providing for motorists and pedestrian safety. According to CDOT, safety cameras are actually making streets and walkways safer throughout the city. According to the Department the number of speeding violations has been trending down in areas with speed cameras since they were deployed in 2014, and average traffic speed has dropped from 26 mph to 22.5 mph. Crash data also show that the number of car crashes in areas with speed cameras was down 4 percent in 2015 compared to 2013, while for the rest of the city crashes were up 13 percent.

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

Traffic Light Funding Approved For Deadly Stretch Of Devon Ave

NBC 5 reported last month that funding for a new traffic light has finally been approved on Devon Avenue near Le Mai Street in Chicago’s West Rogers Park neighborhood. This stretch of Devon has dubbed “Devon Speedway” by local residents as drivers are known to zoom by at rates of 60 mph despite a speed limit of 30. The funding finally came to fruition after a young man was rear-ended on his motorcycle and killed last month. This was one of multiple deadly traffic accidents in this area over the last several years. 39th Ward Alderman Margaret Laurino informed news outlets after this last car crash that funding had been had finally been approved for a new traffic light.

It’s a shame that it has taken the city this long to approve a traffic light that was obviously needed years ago. According to this report, a study was supposed to have been performed by the city’s department of transportation (CDOT) back in 2013. The family of deceased motorcycle driver will more than likely file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver who rear-ended him. I think there is also potential to name the city of Chicago in this lawsuit. Government entities typically have immunity to lawsuits involving negligence unless the entity had notice of the issue (here lack of traffic light) and failed to address the issue. Here the deceased’s family could argue that the city knew as far back as 2013 that this stretch of Devon Avenue was incredibly dangerous and there had been requests for a traffic light, yet they waited five (5) years and after the most recent car accident death to provide the appropriate funding.

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

Study Shows Illinois One Of The Toughest States On Speeders

A new study performed by Wallethub.com looked a the speeding and reckless driving laws for all 50 states and Washington D.C. Illinois had the 4th strictest rating for speeders and and 16th for reckless driver laws. Illinois’ overall rank was 8. More specifically, Illinois had the number 1 rank of drivers with at least one (1) speeding ticket toward a suspension.  They had the 3rd highest ranking for fines for a first time reckless driving ticket.

The last several years this blog has focused highly on distracted driving and the effects of phone use while driving. The evidence shows that texting and driving has become an epidemic in the country. Regardless, it is important to point out (as does this Wallethub study) that excessive speeding is just as dangerous and costly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),  in 2016, speeding was a factor in 27 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths. The NHTSA also pointed out that estimated that the annual economic cost to society of speeding-related crashes is $40.4 billion. Folks, it’s ok to slow down.

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