Should Rideshare Companies Track Car Accident Statistics

I read an interesting article in the Red Eye this week, that investigated whether companies like Uber, Lyft and Taxi companies track the number of traffic accidents their drivers are involved in. You can read the article here.

The answer to the above question is no. Not only do rideshare and cab companies not track their driver’s car accidents, but neither does the state. All car accidents in Illinois that are reported to law enforcement must include an Illinois Traffic Crash Report. The investigating agency must fill out the report, which includes all of the driver information, whether medical treatment was required, whether traffic citations were issued and, most often, which driver was at fault for the traffic accident. The report also includes a box to check whether a driver was in a commercial vehicle (i.e. a tour bust or commercial van etc..) The report does not include a rideshare or taxi company classification. So, in theory, it is incredible difficult to to track the number of car accidents are caused by rideshare and taxi companies each year.

Should this change? Should the city of Chicago or the state alter the traffic crash reports to include a section regarding rideshares and taxi companies? I think the answer is yes. How do we know how safe these companies and their drivers are? I think it would be beneficial to start tracking these accident and classifying the type of drivers involved. This type of data would help local and state legislators determine if stricter driver qualifications are required for Uber and Lyft drivers. Should background checks and stricter driver testing be required? I don’t know the answer but we could learn a lot more if there were actual statistics taken on the number of car crashes occur every year.

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.

Volkswagen Faces Massive Auto Recall

Earlier this month multiple media outlets, including MSNBC, reported that the Obama administration ordered a recall of almost 500,000 Volkswagen vehicles for intentional emission violations. The Environmental Protection Agency  (“EPA”) ordered its’ own vehicle issued the company a notice of violation and accused the company of breaking the law by installing software known as a “defeat device” in 4-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi vehicles from model years 2009-15. The device is programmed to detect when the car is undergoing official emissions testing, and to only turn on full emissions control systems during that testing. Those controls are turned off during normal driving situations, when the vehicles pollute far more heavily than reported by the manufacturer.

This type of recall is different than the one we saw a few years back against Toyota, which was for unexpected acceleration issues. In that case, the danger was specifically towards drivers as car accidents were alleged to be caused by the sudden acceleration. The Volkswagen recall is specifically for damage done to the environment. “Using a defeat device in cars to evade clean air standards is illegal and a threat to public health,” said Cynthia Giles, the E.P.A.’s assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance. “Working closely with the California Air Resources Board, E.P.A. is committed to making sure that all automakers play by the same rules. E.P.A. will continue to investigate these very serious violations.”

This is going to be a huge financial cost to Volkswagen. They are going to face lawsuits by both the EPA to repay the government for the damage to the environment. There will also be auto defect lawsuits filed by class action attorneys looking for reimbursement for the thousands of car owners based on the reduced value of their vehicles. The interesting issue here is that the actions by Volkswagen appear to be intentional. This could create additional fines and punishment requested by the EPA.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or injured by a Chicago auto defect, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

National Safety Council Reports Traffic Deaths Up In 2015

The National Safety Council announced last week that traffic fatalities are up 14% so far this year and that injuries related to traffic accidents are up 33%.

The Council has deduced that a robust economy and lower gas prices have put more people on the road, which in turn leads to more car accidents. If the trend continues, traffic deaths this year could exceed 40,000 for the first time since 2007, when there were nearly 44,000 deaths.

The Council did note that in recent years drunk driving fatalities have dropped about 20%, teen car accidents are down and seat belt use is up. The question remains is whether the increase in fatalities is due solely on a booming economy and low gas prices? The Council believed this is the main reason, but also blames the increase in speed limits in many states along with the continued number of distracted drivers. Despite multiple distracted driving campaigns on the state and federal level, more people are taking cell phone calls and texting on their phones while driving.

So we have the most amount of drivers on the road since 2007 plus more people using their cell phones while driving at faster rates. This is a dangerous combination which has led to this increase in traffic deaths. Like I have written numerous times in the past, until states stiffen the penalties for texting and driving, we will not see the numbers of traffic fatalities and serious traffic injuries drop.

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

Advanced Safety Features Are Becoming Available On Affordable Cars

The Tampa Bay Online newspaper published an interesting article recently, which discussed the advanced safety features that are now added to affordable cars. In the past, it took years for the less expensive vehicles to catch up with the Merecdes and BMWs of the world when it came to features like the air bag.

According to the article, vehicles like the Ford Fusion and Mazda 6 are including numerous safety features that are preventing car accidents. Below are some of the new features available that are no longer costing consumers an arm and a leg:

Traction/Stability Control

Traction control detects if a wheel slips, and then automatically compensates by giving more power to other wheels, helping the car avoid spinning out of control. Electronic Stability Control takes this a step further, and analyzes the shape and weight of the car, and even the terrain or road incline, to control all four brakes better and prevent a spinout or rollover.

ESC can cut the risk of a fatal single-vehicle crash by 49 percent, and cut the risk of a rollover in an SUV by 75 percent, according to research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Blind Spot Cameras

Wide-angle cameras around the car link to a dashboard display, and show you everything that’s happening around the car. Backup cameras in the rear help avoid the nightmare scenario of hitting a child you didn’t know was in the driveway behind you.

Child Control Features

Look for more features to come on the market that try to control teen drivers. Ford’s new MyKey system uses specific keys for each driver, and can limit things like top speed or stereo volume. (It can even block explicit channels on satellite radio.)

For all-electric car versions, the system will adjust projected range based on that driver’s past habits – heavy or light on the accelerator. And for parents, you may want to consider new phone apps or messaging systems that keep closer ties on young drivers.

Slow Vehicle Sensors

Some new model cars have forward-looking sensors that detect when a car ahead has slowed suddenly. The system then mathematically calculates if you can’t avoid the crash without help and sends up a warning.

Ford and Lincoln have systems that will flash red lights on your dashboard and increase sensitivity on the brakes. Volvo’s “City Safety” system will automatically apply the brakes – handy in the scenario when you’re distracted with a spilled cup of coffee or a kid in the back seat.

Sleeping Sensors

“Attention Assist” that detects the minor steering shifts common in drowsy drivers, and bleeps an alarm if the system suspects you’re nodding off.

A number of car makers have started installing “lane drift” sensors in upper-tier cars. Generally, they use forward-looking cameras to track lane markers on the road, and warn the driver if they drift out of their lane, sometimes with a bleep or a small vibration on the steering wheel. Mercedes, Buick, Cadillac, Hyundai, Volvo and others now offer this feature, so look for this soon on lower-priced models.

These are all new features that are now or will soon be available to the middle class and should help prevent car crashes .

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident  or Chicago truck accident , then call Chicago accident attorney , Aaron Bryant, for a free consultation  at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com

Study Shows Texting And Driving Has Drastically Increased Amount Of Distracted Driving Accidents

A recent study from the University of North Texas revealed that the total number of distracted accidents has dramatically increased since 2001, the year text Messaging began.  The Chicago Tribune recently reported that the study showed that if text Messaging had never been invented, there would have been 1,925 traffic fatalities  per year due to distracted driving between 2002 and 2007. But in real life, they rose from 4,611 in 2001 to 5,988 in 2007. Below are some other startling statistics from the study:

  • The percentage of all traffic deaths  caused by distracted driving rose from 11% in 1999 to 16% in 2008.
  • Distracted-driving crashes are more common in urban areas. Overall, 40% of all crashes happened in urban areas in 2008, up from 33% a decade earlier.
  • Only one-third of Americans had a cellphone in 1999. By 2008, 91% of us did.
  • The average monthly volume of text messages was 1 million in 2002. By 2008, it was 110 million
  • 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

    What To Do (And Not Do) If You Are Involved In A Car Accident

    As a Chicago personal injury attorney , I am often asked by friends and potential clients what to do if they are involved in a car accident . Below are a list of Do’s and Dont’s when involved in a car accident . Above all else, it is important to seek medical treatment as your health always come first and it is important to determine if you are seriously injured.

    Do’s and Dont’s:

    • Do get names, addresses, license plate and phone numbers of the involved drivers and any witnesses
    • Do call the police immediately or have someone at the scene call for you
    • Do take photographs of scene and injuries
    • Do notify defendant and authorities immediately after occurrence
    • Do take care of your injuries-concentrate on getting better
    • Do keep records of your medical treatment and time missed from work
    • Don’t talk or give statement to defendant’s insurance company
    • Don’t attempt to negotiate with defendant 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
    • 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 important to keep in mind if you are involved in a car crash . If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident or a Chicago truck accident , then call Chicago car accident attorney  Aaron Bryant for a free consultation  at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com

    New Study Reveals Safest Cities For Car Accidents

    A lot of people have different opinions about All State and their tactics when dealing will injured car accident  victims. Regardless they put the time and money into a study as to which U.S. cities are the safest in regards to auto accidents .  This week they released “Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report™.” The report ranks America’s 200 largest cities in terms of car collision frequency to identify which cities have the safest drivers, according to Allstate claim data. This year’s top honor of “America’s Safest Driving City” is Fort Collins, Colorado. According to the report, the average driver in Fort Collins will experience an auto collision every 14.5 years, which is about 31 percent less likely than the national average.

    Allstate actuaries conducted an analysis of company claim data to determine the likelihood drivers in America’s 200 largest cities will experience a vehicle collision compared to the national average. Internal property damage reported claims were analyzed over a two-year period (from January 2007 to December 2008) to ensure the findings would not be impacted by external influences such as weather or road construction.

    A weighted average of the two-year numbers determined the annual percentages. The report defines an auto crash as any collision resulting in a property damage claim. Allstate’s auto policies represent about 11 percent of all U.S. auto policies, making this report a realistic snapshot of what’s happening on America’s roadways.

    According to the Nation Highway and Transportation Safety administration, human error is the main cause for car accidents  in the U.S.

    All-State provided the following tips to help prevent errors:

  • Minimize distractions – Engaging in any other activity while driving – talking on your cell phone, text messaging, changing a radio station, putting on makeup – is a distraction.
  • Be aware of road conditions – Ice, snow, fog, rain – all of these weather conditions require extra caution and slower speeds.
  • Leave a safe distance between your car and others around you – Maintain at least one car length space between your car and the vehicle in front of you for every 10 miles per hour of speed.
  • Steer clear of road rage – Reduce stress on the road by allowing plenty of time for travel, planning your route in advance, and altering your schedule or route to avoid congested roads. Remember not to challenge aggressive drivers and stay as far away from them as possible.
  • Maintenance matters – Ultimately, safety also depends on the maintenance of one’s car. Ensure that car brakes, exhaust system, tires, lights, battery and hoses are in good working order.

    If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago auto accident or Chicago truck accident , then call Chicago car accident attorney , Aaron Bryant, for a free consultation  at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at

    Tips On Preventing Car Accidents And Keeping Your Insurance Rates Down

    Yahoo News published an interesting article recently that provided a list of ways that your car insurance rates can increase.  These may seem obvious and I have written about these before, but, according to insurance executives, they are paying close attention to the following items when determining rates. These are actions (both in and out of your car) that could increase your insurance rates and more importantly are common cause to car accidents  and serious injuries.

    1. Texting while driving
    2. Not wearing a seat belt while driving
    3. Adding a teen to your policy
    4. Missing credit card payments
    5. Paying car insurance in installments

    These are simple tips that can keep your insurance rates down and hopefully keep you safe while on the road.

    If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident  or Chicago truck accident , then call Chicago car accident attorney  Aaron Bryant for a free consultation  at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.BLGCHICAGO.com

  • Consumer Report Call The Lexus GX 460 Unsafe

    Toyota continues to face struggles as Consumer Report recently rated their Lexus GX 460 as unsafe. The magazine gave the SUV vehicle a “do not buy” label in its’ latest report, which is the first time its has done so since the 2001 Mitsubishi Montero Limited.

    The magazine came to this conclusion after a test of the vehicle’s performance during unusual turns, the rear of the vehicle slid until it was nearly sideways before the electronic stability control system kicked in.  Consumer Reports said in real-world driving, such a scenario could cause a rollover accident.

    “In a real world situation, by that time, the car can hit the curb or the side of the road and that’s the situation where, in a vehicle like that, it could cause it to roll over,” said Gabriel Shenhar, senior auto test engineer at Consumer Reports, who was one of four testers to experience the problem.

    Toyota responded by stating that it is concerned with Consumer Reports’ findings, adding that its engineers will try to duplicate the magazine’s tests to determine its next steps. “Please keep in mind that the 2010 GX 460 meets or exceeds all federal government testing requirements,” the automaker said. “We take the Consumer Reports’ test results seriously.”

    Toyota continues to face problems. First it was the unintended acceleration problems with its’ Prius vehicles among others and now the roll-over problem with its’ high-end Lexus SUV line. It will be interesting to see if its’ testing results differ from Consumer Report’s conclusions.

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

    Is Eating And Driving Dangerous?

    I written numerous times about the dangers of texting and the use of hand held phones while driving. There is no doubt that texting and driving is not a good combination and the government has taken appropriate action to ban this practice. There is a new report out that suggests that people should not be eating and driving.  Hagerty Classic Insurance, prepared a study looking at eating and driving and prepared a list of the ten (10) most dangerous foods to eat while driving.

    The list:

    Coffee: It always finds a way out of the cup.

    2. Hot soup: Many people drink it like coffee and run the same risks.

    3. Tacos: “A food that can disassemble itself without much help, leaving your car looking like a salad bar,” says Hagerty.

    4. Chili: The potential for drips and slops down the front of clothing is significant.

    5. Hamburgers: From the grease of the burger to the ketchup and mustard on top, plenty of goop can end up on your hands, clothes and steering wheel.

    6. Barbecued food: Similar issue arises for barbecued foods as for hamburgers. The sauce may be great, but it will end up on whatever you touch.

    7. Fried chicken: Another food that leaves you with greasy hands, which means constantly wiping them on something, even if it’s your shirt. It also makes the steering wheel greasy.

    8. Jelly- or cream-filled doughnuts: Has anyone ever eaten a jelly doughnut without some of the center oozing out? And jelly can be difficult to remove from material.

    9. Soft drinks: Not only are they subject to spills, but they also can fizz as you’re drinking them if you make sudden movements. Most of us have childhood memories of soda fizz in the nose; the sensation isn’t any more pleasant now.

    10. Chocolate: Like greasy foods, chocolate can coat your fingers as it melts against the warmth of your skin, leaving its mark anywhere you touch. Try to clean it off the steering wheel and you could end up unintentionally swerving.

    The study provided the following tips to help you avoid eating and driving:

    • Leave a bit earlier to allow yourself time to stop and eat.

     

    • If you’re traveling with someone, take turns eating and driving.

     

    Other tips for driving safely:

    • Keep your eyes on the road.

     

    • Review maps before hitting the road.

     

    • Do your personal grooming at home.

     

    • Use the memory dial feature on your cell phone whenever possible.

     

    • Keep your hands on the wheel.

     

    • Preset your radio stations.

     

    • Don’t try to retrieve items that fall to the floor.

     

    • Avoid smoking, eating and drinking while driving.

     

    • Avoid taking calls while driving.

     

    • Teach your children the importance of good behavior in cars.

     

    • Keep your mind on the ride.

     

    • Ask a passenger to serve as your “co-pilot.”

     

    • Avoid stressful/emotional/confrontational conversations either with a passenger or on your cell phone.

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