Are Variable Speed Limits The Key To Unlocking Traffic Gridlock In Chicago?

The Chicago Tribune had
an interesting article about the future of driving in congested areas like the
Chicagoland region. The article touched on the possibility of V2V technology
that would allow drivers to communicate with each other via Wife and also
self-driving cars. The most promising trend, to me, was a type of technology
that allows speed limits to vary in congested areas called Active Traffic
Management of “ATM.” This technology is already being used in St.
Louis, Minneapolis, Ann Arbor and parts of Nevada, California and Florida.

ATM, Through the use of road sensors, the limits can be adjusted to
accommodate traffic, with the changes or other road-related information posted
on electronic signs above specific lanes. For example, one lane’s
electronic sign may show a speed limit of 60, another 55, and another may indicate
that drivers need to merge, depending on what traffic sensors show is ahead.
The system also can close individual lanes and space traffic on ramps.

“We’ve seen really great
response from drivers getting out of the lanes beforehand,” said Maan
Sidhu, freeway operations engineer for the Washington State Department of
Transportation, which started an ATM program in 2010 along Interstate 5 and has
expanded it to Interstate 90 and Washington Highway 520 in and around Seattle.
“We don’t have that stacking up of vehicles.”  Sidhu also said
the department has recorded “a general reduction in the number of
(vehicle) collisions” on those roads but “no really great
impact” on travel times on Seattle-area highways, which are
notorious for long traffic jams.

It will be interesting to see if
this is something that will be developed in Illinois. As I have written about
multiple times in the past, Chicago has some of the most congested traffic
areas in the United States. More importantly, would this type of technology
help reduce the number of traffic accidents in our area? I will be following
this closely to see if Illinois looks at this further and ultimately implements
ATM into some of the more congested areas.

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
312-588-3384.

Are There More Fatal Car Accidents On Tax Day?

The middle of April is
stressful time of year for a lot of people (including for small business owners
like yours truly) because it is the time of year when taxes are due.
 Increased stress can lead to many unhealthy outcomes, and according to
some researchers, more car accidents.  I ran across and interesting
article in the Chicago Tribune, which stated that history shows
there is a higher number of deadly car accidents on tax day. According to  
 Dr. Donald Redelmeier,
a research and physician from the University of Toronto, 
 30 years of data and found 6,783
traffic-related deaths on Tax Day, or 226 per day compared 213 per day on one
day a week before the deadline day and another day a week after. 
 The researchers analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration
. The results appear
in Wednesday’s Journal of the
 American Medical Association

What has caused this
trend on tax day and is it an anomaly? Answers vary but the most researchers
concluded that there are more drivers on the road on tax day and that increased
stress in many of these drivers can increase the chances for car accident.

Typically I would say
that this is an anomaly but the research did cover a 30 year period and the
numbers are hard to ignore. I guess the lesson here (at least for my-self) is
to finish your taxes before April 15.

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 consultation
at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com. 

Teens Texting, Calling And Driving Is A Scary Combination

A new Pew Research Report reveals that up to 50% of teen drivers admit to texting and talking on their cell phones while driving.

According to the study by the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C, which surveyed 800 teens up to age 17:

• 75 percent of teens have a cellphone, and more than half of them say they have talked on their cellphone while driving.

• 40 percent say they have been in a car when the driver used a cellphone “in a way that put themselves or others in danger.”

• 48 percent of teens say they have been in a car when the driver was texting.

• More than one-third of teens ages 16 or 17 who text say they have texted while driving.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski already has gone on record with his concerns. “Distracted driving endangers life and property and the current levels of injury and loss are unacceptable,” he sold a U.S. Senate committee last month.

He cited a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report in 2008 that said driver distraction is the cause of 16 percent of all fatal crashes, which translates to 5,800 people killed, and 21 percent of crashes that result in an injury, which is 515,000 people.

As I previously wrote, the U.S. Senate is now considering a bill that would completely ban texting while driving. I don’t t think that legislation could come soon enough. The statistics do not lie and apparently teens drivers do not view this as a dangerous activity.

To read the complete article from the Seattle Times, click here.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident or truck accident, then contact attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.

Study Shows In Cab Computers Are Distraction To Truck Drivers

The New York Times recently reported on the use of computers by truck drivers while on the road. Truck drivers remain adamant that their use of computers are not a distraction and provide less of a hindrance than the use of cell phones or Blackberrys. 

“We think that’s overkill,” Clayton Boyce, spokesman for the American Trucking Associations, said of a federal bill that would force states to ban texting while driving if they want to keep receiving federal highway money.  Mr. Boyce, who said the industry does not condone texting while driving, said computers used by truckers require less concentration than phones. The trucks “have a screen that has maybe two or four or six lines” of text, he said. “And they’re not reading the screen every second.”  Banning the use of such devices, he added, “won’t improve safety.”

Safety experts have an opposing view and are determined to include computers in trucks in the texting ban. After videotaping truckers behind the wheel, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that those who used on-board computers faced a 10 times greater risk of crashing, nearly crashing or wandering from their lane than truckers who did not use those devices. That figure is lower than the 23 times greater risk when truckers texted, compared with drivers simply focused on the road, according to the same study. However, the Virginia researchers said that truckers tend to use on-board computers more often than they text.

The study found that truckers using on-board computers take their eyes off the road for an average of four seconds, enough time at highway speeds to cover roughly the length of a football field.

Richard J. Hanowski, director of the Center for Truck and Bus Safety at the Virginia institute, said videotape monitoring of 200 truckers driving about three million miles showed many of them using the devices, even bypassing messages on the screen warning them not to use the devices while driving.

“Is this any different than texting?” Mr. Hanowski said. “With either one, the risks are very high.”

But Robert D. Foss, a senior researcher at the Highway Safety Research Center at the University of North Carolina, said the dispatch computers and texting devices present the same potential for distraction.

“It’s hard to accept the assertion: ‘We’re just different,’ ” he said. “You know full well this is motivated by economic considerations.”

There appears to be a strong lobby by both the trucking industry and safety experts and advocates. The statistics do not lie and based on the Virginia Tech report, computers are just as distracting as texting. It will be interesting to see if the in cab computers will be included in any proposed legislation involving the ban on texting and driving.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a trucking accident or car crash, then contact attorney Aaron Bryant at The Bryant Law Group for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.

Illinois Secretary of State Urges Residents To Register With The “In Case of Emergency” Database

The Chicago Tribune reported last week that the Illinois Secretary of State is compiling an “in case of emergency” database for Illinois residents. The database will help police find relatives of those injured in car accidents.   The voluntary database allows Illinois residents to enter addresses and phone numbers for up to two contacts anywhere in the United States at cyberdriveillinois.com. The program, which launched last month, is open to all Illinois residents with a driver’s license, instruction permit or identification card.

The goal is to ease some of the burden on police, who already arrange for emergency transport, direct traffic and investigate the cause of serious accidents. Contacting the relative of an injured motorist is one more grim task for authorities made more difficult when driver’s license information is not up to date, authorities said.

This program was instituted to help ease the burden on police departments who often have to perform detailed investigative work when an accident victim cannot communicate.

Responding to a traffic accident can tax a police department and its personnel, making it difficult to tend to details such as searching for an emergency contact. “Many times the manpower isn’t there to do these kinds of other tasks,”  said Jeffrey Stolzenburg, Libertyville Police Officer.  “Often it takes a considerable amount of effort and much-needed time [that] this program will reduce significantly,” Stolzenburg said. “As long as people put in reliable information and are able to update it, only time will tell, but I do foresee it being very helpful.”

The Bryant Law Group urges all Illinois residents to contact the Secretary of State and register with this database. A car accident can be a chaotic atmosphere and this can make it easier for loved ones to be contacted as soon as possible.

Click here to read the complete story from the Chicago Tribune.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident , then contact attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.

Federal Safe Driving Summit Announced

As I previously noted in my accident blog, Illinois has considering stricter restrictions on the use of cell phones and message devices while driving. The federal government has now announced that they will be holding a summit in Washington D.C. on September 30 through October 1 to discuss enacting stricter regulations for drivers.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that the agenda  for the Distracted Driving Summit  will include over 200 safety experts, researchers, elected officials and members of the public will gather in Washington, D.C. to share their experiences, provide feedback and develop recommendations for reducing the growing safety risk that distracted driving is imposing on our nation’s roads.

The Distracted Driving Summit will bring together respected leaders from around the country for interactive sessions on the extent and impact of the problem, current research, regulations, best practices and other key topics. The two day Summit will feature five panels – on data, research, technology, policy, and outreach – with a range of experts discussing each topic.

One of the panels will include a discussion on advances in technology, specifically, text messaging and emailing, and how it has affected drivers.

It is clear that the government is believes cell phones and messaging devices can cause serious distraction to drivers and we could see even stricter regulations. To read more about the summit, click here, for the department of transportation home page.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto or trucking accident, then call Attorney Aaron J. Bryant for free consultation at 312-588-3384.

National Safety Counsel Calls For Ban On All Cell Phone Use While Driving

In January of this year the National Safety Counsel announced that they are calling for a complete ban on cell phone use while driving.  The announcement is a plea to businesses, governors and legislators in all 50 states to enact laws banning the use of cell phones and messaging devices while driving.

A study from the Harvard Center of Risk Analysis estimates that cell phone use while driving contributes to 6 percent of crashes, which equates to 636,000 crashes, 330,000 injuries, 12,000 serious injuries and 2,600 deaths each year. The study also put the annual financial toll of cell phone-related crashes at $43 billion.

As I have mentioned before, the temptation is always there to answer calls, read texts and emails and even return text messages while driving. I have stopped reading and returning emails and texts while driving and only use the speaker phone. Based on these recent studies at Harvard and Virginia Tech, I believe we will be seeing stiffer restrictions on cell phone use and messaging devices in Illinois and around the country.

To read the complete story, click here.

Call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation  at 312-588-3384, if you or someone you know has been involved in an accident,

New Study Shows Texting While Driving Increases Auto Accident Rates Tenfold

I think we have all experienced the following situation in the past. You are driving along and you receive a new email or text message on your Blackberry or IPhone. The temptation is there to read the message and even type a response. I have been in that situation countless times returning from Court or even during a long road trip. We all need to face the fact that returning that text is dangerous and can even be deadly. This has been confirmed in a new study performed by the Virginia Tech Traffic Institute, which revealed last week that when drivers texted, their collision risk was 23 times greater than when not texting.  In the moments before a car crash or near crash, drivers typically spent nearly five seconds looking at their devices — enough time at typical highway speeds to cover more than the length of a football field. 

This is scary information and it has led me to re-think ever responding to a text or email while driving. So, the next time you are cruising around town, please ignore that text or email until you have a chance to stop your car or pull over. It could save your life.

To read more about the study reported on by the New York Times, click here.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a car or trucking accident, then call Attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.