New Study Shows That Device Would Prevent 59,000 Drunk Driving Deaths Per Year

Bloomberg News reported last week that a new University of Michigan Study revealed that if a drunk driving device was installed into every vehicle, it could prevent up to 59,000 traffic fatalities every year. Current ignition interlock technology, which has been around since the 1960s, prevents a vehicle from being started if a driver’s breath registers a certain amount of alcohol. In recent years, some states have mandated their use for convicted drunk drivers.

Typically, this type of device is only required if someone has been charged with a DUI and their license has been suspended for blowing over the legal limit or refusing to blow. For instance, in Illinois, if someone has their license suspended by the secretary of state, they can legally drive during their suspension if the driver pays to have this device installed. Other times, judges can order that this type of device be installed as part of probation for repeat offenders.

It can be assured that this type of technology will seek opposition. First, there will be the cost by automakers and consumers. Will they want to pay for this device and should they be forced to?  Also, it will be interesting to see if there will be any backlash from the ACLU as this could be viewed as an infringement on people’s privacy.

I think safety advocates will view this similar to the seat belt and air bags. Before those two devices who introduced into the marketplace, they were viewed as too expensive and the government pushing too far into what drivers can or cannot do. Obviously, through the years we all know that seat belts and airbags have saved thousands of lives and prevented serious injuries. Further, driving in this country is not a right. Driving is considered a privilege. A privilege that you have to qualify for by passing tests, paying for insurance and following the rules of the road.

University of Michigan’s Injury Center and Transportation Research Institute said in the study, released Thursday, that cost savings from widespread use of ignition interlock technology could outweigh the expense of the devices after three years.

“The goal is to develop a system that can accurately and reliably detect when a driver is above the legal alcohol limit and that could be offered as original equipment in new cars on a voluntary, market-driven basis,” Gordon Trowbridge, a NHTSA spokesman, said in a statement.

“Automakers will have to be convinced, and make sure that the costs of the technology are something that consumers are willing to pay for and they want,” said Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.

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.

Luxury Cars Coming Up Short On Crash Worthy Tests

The Chicago Tribune recently
reported than many luxury automobiles such as BMW, Mercedes and Lexus have
received poor grades on recent crash tests. According to the Insurance
Institute on Highway Safety, only 3 of 11 luxury
cars from the 2012 model year passed the new car crash test, which looked at
front-corner impacts, which are not well protected by vehicles’ crush-zone
structures.

In the insurance
group’s test, 25% of a car’s front end on the driver’s side is rammed into a
5-foot-high rigid barrier at 40 mph. The insurance institute plans to
incorporate the same kind of car crash in tests of other vehicles.

“Nearly every new car performs well in
other frontal crash tests conducted by the institute and the federal
government, but we still see more than 10,000 deaths in frontal crashes each
year,” said Adrian Lund, the institute’s president. “Small overlap
crashes,” which include the type of car accident examined by the new test,
“are a major source of these fatalities.”

The Acura TL and
Volvo S60 earned “good” ratings, while the Infiniti G was rated
“acceptable.” The Acura TSX, BMW 3 Series, Lincoln MKZ and Volkswagen
CC all received “marginal” ratings. The Audi A4, Lexus ES 350, Lexus
IS 250/350 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class were rated “poor.”

Why are these higher end vehicles
performing so poorly?  I would assume the
automakers are designing these vehicles for optimum performance and speed,
which could mean they are cutting corners on safety. This has been a perpetual
problem with automakers over the last 60 plus years – – beginning the slow but gradual implementation of seat-belts. It will be interesting to see if the government
intervenes if we see a drastic increase in traffic deaths that can be blamed on
these lack of safety design features.

If you or someone you love has been
seriously injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then
call Chicago personal injury attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at
3122-588-3384 or go to the firm website at  

Study Outlines Key To Decreasing Number Teen Car Accidents

The Insurance Institute
for Highway Safety (“IIHS”) recently published an article which
outlines the best way for every state to decrease the number of car accidents
and traffic fatalities. The IIHS looked at the 5 best graduated driving laws for
teen drivers in each state, and concluded that if combined, it would provide
the maximum amount of driving safety. Below are those 5 different laws that
would best promote teen driver safety:

1. Minimum
intermediate license age of 17; 
2. A minimum permit age of 16; 3. At least 65 supervised practice hours for
new drivers; 4.
 During
the intermediate stage, a night driving restriction starting at 8 p.m; and 5
. Ban
on all teen passengers.

Graduated licensing
enables new teen drivers to gradually build up driving experience as they
mature and develop on-the-road skills. The system has three stages: a
supervised learner’s period, an intermediate license (after passing a road
test) that limits driving in high-risk situations except under supervision, and
a license with full privileges. Teens with learner permits should get lots of
supervised driving practice, and once they have intermediate licenses they
should be subject to limits on night driving and teen passengers. The longer
the restrictions last the better. The IIHS’s research has shown that
states with the strongest laws enjoy the biggest reductions in fatal car crashes
among 15-17-year-old drivers and the biggest reductions in collisions reported
to insurers among 16-17-year-old drivers, compared with states with weak laws.

This is excellent data
provided by the IIHS and provides meaningful solutions that could lead to less
car accidents on the road. The problem is convincing legislatures in each state
to adopt all of these measures. None of the 5 restrictions listed above have
been adopted by a single state. What if the federal government intervened. I
can almost guarantee you that if the federal government promised and/or withheld
federal highway funding based on states adopting these laws, it would dramatically
effect whether this could be done. The same approach was taken when Bill
Clinton was in office 15-20 years ago with drunk driving laws. The federal
government withheld highway construction funding to states until states lowered
blood alcohol content (BAC) laws to .08. States did not receive funding from
the federal government until they lowered BAC requirements to .08. Maybe the
same approach could be used for teen driving requirements.  

If you or someone you
love has been injured 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. 

New Law Requires Illinois Backseat Passengers Wear Seat Belts

A somewhat controversial traffic law that passed the Illinois legislator over the summer came into effect on January 1, 2012. The new law requires all back seat passengers wear a seat belt. The new law gives police officers the ability to pull a vehicle over if they view the any passenger not wearing their seat belt.

Illinois became the 26th state to require back seat passengers wear their seat belts.  Despite many complaints that this law is overly intrusive, lawmakers believe this will help save lives.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has concluded that using shoulder belts in the back seat reduces the risk of a fatal injury during a car crash by 44% in cars and 73% in vans and SUVs. Unbelted passengers also put others in the car in danger during an auto accident and increase the other passengers’ rate of injury or death by 40%.
There have also been studies that a belted passenger in the back seat will prevent that passenger for being forced forward and injuring the front seat passengers.
The initial fine for this law is $25.
If you or someone you know has been seriously injured 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.  

Insurance Institute For Highway Safety Says SUVs Are Safer Than Ever

USA Today published an interesting article last week about the safety developments of SUVs.  The improvement in SUV safety is largely due to the installation of electronic stability control, says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Stability control, which uses brakes and engine power to keep vehicles on the road, was introduced more quickly on SUVs.  The death rate for SUV drivers dropped 66% from 82 per million vehicles for 1999-2002 models to 28 per million for 2005-2008 models.

Unfortunately compact vehicles are not nearly as safe when involved in a car crash. The death rate for drivers of small, four-door cars was 72 per million vehicles for 2005-2008 models, down 35% from 110 per million in 1999-2002 models.”The rollover risk in SUVs used to outweigh their size/weight advantage, but that’s no longer the case,” says Anne McCartt, the institute’s senior vice president for research.”It’s a dramatic change and a testament to the incredible effectiveness of electronic stability control,” she says.

The question that remains is what can car makers do to improve safety of smaller vehicles.  This data creates somewhat of a dilemma because federal regulators continue to require auto makers to develop smaller, more energy efficient vehicles that are more eco-friendly. Is there a way to develop and manufacture safer vehicles that are also energy efficient. This is the challenge that both lawmakers and auto makers will face in the coming months and years.

If you or someone you love has been injured 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

IIHS Reports That Newer Cars Are Safer Than Those In Years Past

I am sure it has been assumed by most that cars manufactured in the modern era are much safer than those made in the 50s, 60s and 70s. This assumption was proved true by a recent study performed by the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety.

Demonstrating this was a crash test conducted on Sept. 9 between a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air and a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu. In a real-world collision similar to this test, occupants of the new model would fare much better than in the vintage Chevy.

“It was night and day, the difference in occupant protection,” says Institute president Adrian Lund. “What this test shows is that automakers don’t build cars like they used to. They build them better.”

Say what you want about the struggling American auto makers, but I think it is fair to say that we are sitting in safer vehicles than the ones our grandparents drove.

Click here to read the complete story and watch the video of the crash test.

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