Illinois State Police Cracking Down on DUIs During Summer Months

Summer is finally here and there is more traffic out on the roads than any other time of year. This is especially true over holiday weekends like Memorial Day and Fourth of July. The Illinois State Police and over 160 local law enforcement agencies are planning ahead to prepare for all the drivers on the road and launching “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and “Click It or Ticket” campaigns.

Both of these traffic safety campaigns are made possible by federal traffic safety funds administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation. The crackdown runs concurrently with a media campaign reminding motorists that impaired driving has “Life or Death” consequences.  The safety campaign will run June 17 through July 8 to encompass three summer weekends leading up to and after Independence Day. The Illinois State Police and local police departments have issued the following tips to help make the roads safer, and ultimately save lives:

  • Give your designated driver your keys before you go out.
  • If you are drunk or impaired by marijuana or other drugs, call a taxi, take mass transit, use your favorite ride-sharing service, or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely.
  • Promptly report drunk drivers to law enforcement by pulling over and dialing 911.
  • Make sure everyone in your vehicle wears their seat belt. Not only is it the law, it’s your best defense against an impaired driver.

There will be a lot more police officers on the roads the next few weeks. This should not be the only reason to be careful before getting behind the wheel. More importantly, you can save the lives of those in your vehicle and the vehicles around you by deciding not to drink and drive.

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

What The $45 Billion Infrastructure Bill Means For Chicagoans

New Illinois Governor Jay “JB” Pritzker is being lauded for a wave of new legislation that has passed on a bipartisan basis at the end of the Spring session. This includes a $45 billion infrastructure bill that is aimed at re-building roads and bridges throughout the state. The state will pay for this bill, in part, by doubling the fuel tax from .19 cents per gallon to .38 cents and also through various increases on things from ride-sharing trips, paid parking garages and vehicle registration.

The question I have is how is this new bill going to affect Chicagoans? The legislative package includes $350 million in funding to fix rail congestion and traffic delays. The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) would get an additional $3.2 billion for infrastructure projects, which includes $60 million for repairs on the Green Line Cottage Grove station. $31.5 million was earmarked for improvements to the Blue Line’s O’Hare branch, along with another $50 million for tactical traction power upgrades. Another $220 million in capital upgrades for Pace suburban bus service. Money will be given to Amtrak for upgrades to the Chicago – Champaign – Carbondale route, and the Chicago to Rockford route.

Also, I have read on various outlets that about $50 million will be dedicated to bicycle and pedestrian projects, including pedestrian islands and better crosswalks, as well as protected bike lanes and multi-use trails.

This is an incredibly important investment in this state. We can only hope that the governor and his departments use this money properly and improve what has been needed for years.

If you or a loved one 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.

Chicago’s Electric Scooter Program Raises Safety Issues

On June 15 Chicago will launch its’ first electric scooter program. The scooters will be available to rent. The program will only allow use in designated areas between Irving Park and Pershing Roads. The Chicago Loop has specifically been omitted due to congestion and multiple other transportation options in the area. According to the city, one of the purposes of this program is an effort to “reduce single occupancy vehicle use.” 2,500 scooters will be available wherever it’s legal to lock a bike in public. They’re limited to 15 mph, and they will not be allowed on sidewalks.

Electric scooters in major metropolitan areas have created multiple safety concerns. Electric scooters are responsible for deaths in Dallas, Washington, D.C., Chula Vista, California, and Cleveland. A study, released in January by the Journal of the America Medical Association found of 249 emergency room patients in scooter accidents, most were head injuries, fractures, and soft-tissue injuries. One problem is a lack of helmets. Only 11% of patients under 18 and just over 4% of older riders wore a helmet. Two of those patients had severe head injuries and were placed in intensive care units.

Currently, there are no state laws in Illinois or local Chicago ordinances that require riders wear helmets. The good news is that the city has required the vendors to supply $5 million is insurance coverage per incident.

I have seen these scooters in other cities and for some riders, unfortunately, have not been easy to maneuver. I saw a woman fall down from her scooter in a parking lot and an ambulance had to be called. The problem I foresee is that Chicago is such a dense city. There are large amounts of vehicle and foot traffic in every neighborhood (not just the downtown loop). I hope this project works, but I think the city needs to watch this closely before expanding due to all the safety concerns. I would also like to see a local helmet requirement be put into place. The good news is there appears to be ample insurance in case there are electric scooter accidents that cause serious injuries.

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

Pedestrian Fatalities In Chicago Down 40% So Far This Year

I have written on this blog multiple times about Chicago’s Vision Zero. It is a traffic safety plan implemented by outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanual who’s goal was to eliminate all pedestrian traffic deaths by 2026. Part of the plan has been the implementation of speeding cameras, larger and more visible cross walks with traffic stop signs and designated bicycle lanes. Vision Zero was off to a rocky start as last year alone saw an uptick in Chicago pedestrian fatalities. Traffic safety might be improving.

According to Block Club Chicago, a local online news source, pedestrian deaths have decreased in so far this year compared to data collected from this time last year.

Between Jan. 1, 2018, and May 31, 2018, 20 pedestrians were killed in Chicago. During the same period in 2019, only 12 people on foot were killed in crashes, according to data presented last week to the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council. Chicago Dept. of Transportation Assistant Commissioner Sean Wiedel called that very encouraging news.

So far, no specific data or studies have been provided to the press explain the decrease in deaths. The article points to the increased number of vehicles on the roads, higher speed limits and a growing number of drivers and those on foot distracted by cell phones and other electronic devices as the main causes for the uptick in pedestrian deaths in recent years. I would like to see what the numbers are by the end of the year to see if any of the policies implemented by Vision Zero could explain why the numbers decreased this years. I would also like to know if new mayor, Lori Lightfoot, plans to keep Vision Zero a priority for the city. Regardless, this is encouraging news, and we can only hope that the numbers continue to decrease the rest of the year and years to come.

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.

Will Major League Baseball Require Further Expansion Of Protective Nets?

Major League Baseball (“MLB”) Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke to the media this week regarding growing concern of fan safety from foul balls hit into the crowd. His short answer regarding net expansion was no, MLB would not be expanding protective nets this season. His reasoning was that the structural issues in each individual stadium would make it difficult to mandate changes during the season, but the recent incident at Minute Maid Park will lead to conversations into the off-season.

These comments come a week after a young child was severely injured at a Houston Astro’s game at Minute Maid Park. Following the game several Cubs players (the Astro’s opponent) offered their dismay about the continued threat that fans face from foul balls slicing into the crowd. Balls that can fly into the crowd up to 90 mph. If it was up to Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, the teams would provide netting around the entire stadium. Maybe he has a point. This has been an ongoing issue for the MLB dating back the last several years. As I have written here on the past, almost every year a handful of fans have been seriously injured, with one dying at a Boston Red Sox game last season. MLB responded by requiring all teams expand netting all the way to the end of each dugout.

The question is whether the current netting system is enough protection. I don’t think it is. This is especially disheartening because courts have continuously protected major league sports teams from liability when fans are injured by balls at games. The courts have used a common law assumption of risk argument that all fans know that there a risks such as errant foul balls that fly into the crowd. If the netting isn’t expanded this off-season, then I think state legislators should consider laws that would lift the common law protection for major league teams that continue to allow these injuries to occur to their fans.

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