Graduated Licensing Requirement For Teens In Illinois Appears To Work

Everyone concerned with teen driving safety seem to be in agreement that Illinois’ graduated licensing requirement is a success. Enacted in 2008, the new legislation aims to get teens more supervised time on the road while limiting the number of passengers and distractions in their cars.

Statistics released by the Illinois Department of Transportation show the law has been quite effective in its first year. From January to October, 60 individuals between the ages of 16 to 19 died in teen related automobile accidents, according to IDOT. For a comparable time in 2007 — the year prior to the GDL’s enactment — automobile accidents claimed the lives of 127 teens.

Because of the limited number of fatal crashes seen by police departments here, local teen-driving statistics were unavailable.

In 2008, Illinois joined 31 states by implementing a graduated driver’s licensing program.

The new legislation — which sprung partially from Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s teen driving task force, which began meeting in 2006 — created two stages for young drivers: learner and intermediate.

Foremost among the new requirements was the tripling of the amount of time from three to six months a teen must spend with a learner’s permit.

Under the GDL, even intermediate teen drivers — those having passed their driver’s test — are not allowed to drive after 10 p.m. on weeknights or 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. And these newly-licensed drivers are not allowed to have more than one teenage passenger in their car during their first year on the road. The age of teens allowed to use cell phones was also raised from 18 to 19. 

To read the complete story about Illinois’ graduated licensing requirement, click here.

Should you or someone you know become involved in an car accident or truck accident, then call attorney Aaron J. Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.

Police Consider Homicide Charges After Baby Dies In Car Crash

An incredibly sad story came in  from the new wires yesterday. A 27 year old woman, Kim Brown, had her vehicle struck by another vehicle that allegedly ran a red light.  Brown, who died at the scene, was rushed to Stroger Hospital as paramedics attempted to save her unborn child.

Doctors at Stroger Hospital delivered the boy by cesarean section after Wednesday’s car crash. He was listed in “extremely critical” condition and died just before noon today, according to hospital officials.

“The baby suffered injuries (from the car crash) in addition to being premature,” said Stroger Hospital spokesman Marcel Bright. The boy had been 6 or 7 months along.

The driver of the minivan, a 39-year old man from the West Side, was taken to Loretto Hospital after Wednesday’s car crashcar crash and was in police custody this morning, authorities said.

He has so far been cited for running a red light, driving on a revoked license and driving without insurance. Even before the baby died, police had been seeking reckless homicide charges against the man. The Cook County state’s attorney’s office is looking into the case, officials said.

The driver cited in the car crash has been previously convicted 15 times for driving without a license, or on a suspended or revoked license, and has not been properly licensed since September 2002, according to the Illinois secretary of state’s office. His license has also been suspended twice for driving without insurance, once in the case of an auto accident.

The auto accident occurred around 11:30 a.m. when a Ford van heading east on Washington Boulevard was struck by the Chrysler Town and Country minivan that was heading south on Kostner Avenue, running a red light, police said.

The impact pushed the Ford into Brown, a 30-year-old woman and two small girls. The 30-year-old woman and the girls, ages 3 and 1, were in good condition at Mt. Sinai Hospital.

This is a tough story to report about and discuss. There is nothing positive for me to mention. The icing on the cake for the Brown family is that it does not appear that the man driving the minivan has appropriate insurance to compensate the family for an obvious wrongful death lawsuit.  Keep your wits about you folks. There are some crazy and irresponsible drivers out there.

To read the full story, click here.

If you or your family have been involved in a car or trucking accident, then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.

AAA Reports That Aggressive Driving Is The Cause Of Over Half Of All Accidents

AAA recently posted an article to help define aggressive driving and how it leads to the majority of accidents in the United States. The article points out that some of the studies done on aggressive driving have focused on specific driving behaviors, such as speeding, tailgating, or violating traffic control devices, which are commonly thought of as behaviors typically associated with aggressive driving. Other studies have distinguished between aggressive driving behaviors and driving behaviors that may be dangerous but not necessarily aggressive on the basis of the driver’s intentions. Finally, studies have investigated acts of assault committed by drivers against other drivers with the intent of causing physical harm, which is a criminal act often referred to as “road rage,” and is considered to be distinct from aggressive driving due to the intentionality of the harm that it may cause. In this paper, we focus on aggressive driving, and have not attempted to investigate criminal acts of “road rage.”

AAA found that based on recent studies and reports that 56 percent of fatal crashes from 2003 through 2007, with excessive speed being the number one factor. They did point out that 56 percent may to some degree overestimate the contribution of aggressive driving to fatal crashes. Although, it is likely that aggressive driving contributes to at least some crashes in which it is not reported due to lack of evidence.

AAA looked at a FARS Study (2003 – 2007), which showed that sspeeding was the most common potentially-aggressive action by far; nearly one of every three fatal crashes over the period studied involved a driver who was reported to have been exceeding the speed limit and/or driving too fast for conditions. Half of the fatal crashes (53,358, 50.0%) coded as involving potentially-aggressive actions were single-vehicle crashes; 45,021 (42.2%) involved two vehicles, and 8,348 (7.8%) involved three or more vehicles. Of the 45,021 two-vehicle crashes, potentially-aggressive actions were coded for only one of the drivers in 94.5 percent of these crashes and for both drivers in 5.5 percent. Of the 8,348 crashes involving more than two vehicles, potentially-aggressive actions were coded for only one driver in 91.6 percent of these crashes, two drivers in 6.9 percent, and more than two drivers in 1.5 percent.

The above statistics are somewhat sobering. Speeding and aggressive driving lead to accidents, which often end in fatal results. Often stress in our lives can cause us to grip the wheel tightly and act erratically and drive overly aggressive. I think it is important for all of us to take a deep breath, count to 3 and relax when we feel the aggression coming on.  Why take the chance of hurting yourself or others while on the road.

If you or someone you know is involved in an accident or has been a victim of road rage, then contact attorney Aaron Bryant for free consultation.  Call today 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.

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.

AAA Launches Heads Up Driving Week from October 5 through October 11

AAA has launched its’ “Heads Up Driving” week set for October 5 through 11.  AAA is calling on all motorists to drive distraction-free for the week of October 5 – 11 as part of its inaugural Heads Up Driving Week: Try it for a week, do it for life.

“The new technologies that help us multitask in our everyday lives and increasingly popular social media sites present a hard-to-resist challenge to the typically safe driver,” said AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet. “Enacting texting bans for drivers in all 50 states can halt the spread of this dangerous practice among motorists nationwide, and is a key legislative priority for AAA in state capitols.”

The AAA Foundation and AAA call on all drivers to pledge their participation in Heads Up Driving Week spanning Monday, Oct. 5 through Sunday, Oct. 11. “We are asking everyone to rethink their driving behavior and take the first step toward becoming distraction-free by trying it for a week and then doing it for life,” said AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger. By participating, drivers vow to eliminate distractions behind the wheel and sign a pledge committing to distraction-free driving for Heads Up Driving Week and beyond.

This program by AAA has longterm goals through legislation. AAA is now pushing for legislation to ban texting while driving in all 50 by 2013. Currently 18 states and the District of Columbia have a current ban on texting while driving.

AAA will lobby nationwide to pass laws in states that lack them and improve existing laws against texting while driving,” said Darbelnet. “We’ll also continue our work through public education, driver training, and other safety programs to discourage motorists from engaging in the broad range of other distractions that tempt them while behind the wheel.”

I have previously posted about the dangers of texting while driving and how it can lead to a higher rate of car accidents and crashes. It appears that there is a strong lobby nationwide to enact legislation banning texting while driving.  As I have said before, take the time to pull over to the side of the road or a parking lot if you need to check emails or texts on your phone or blackberry.

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

One Dead And Nine Others Injured In CTA Bus Accident

CBS 2 Chicago announced on their website that a vehicle-bus collision that occurred on the South side of Chicago resulted in one death while nine others were rushed to the hospital. Apparently a van rear-ended and CTA bus at 83rd and Cottage Grove Avenue on Tuesday.

CTA spokeswoman Catherine Hosinski said a southbound No. 4 Cottage Grove bus was stopped at the intersection of 83rd Street and Cottage Grove when it was struck from behind by a van about 4:40 p.m.   An EMS Plan 1 was called for the crash at 83rd Street and Cottage Grove Avenue about 4:40 p.m., according to Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford. Ten people were initially injured in the crash, according to Fire Media Affairs spokesman Quention Curtis.  Three people were taken in critical condition — two to Stroger Hospital and one to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.  Seven others were initially hospitalized in stable condition. Two people were taken to Advocate Trinity Hospital; three people were taken to Jackson Park Hospital; one person was taken to Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers in Evergreen Park and one person was taken to South Shore Hospital, Curtis said. 

It was not known whether any citations were issued in the wreck.

I have written about the CTA in the past. Remember, if you or someone you know has been involved in an accident with the CTA then you are no longer required to file a six month notice with the Chicago Transit Authority. Governor Quinn repealed Section 41 notice rule back in May. Although, the statute of limitations for all incidents against the CTA remains at one (1) year.

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

Granite City Man Given Maximum Sentence For DUI That Lead To Deadly Crash

A Granite City, Illinois man received the maximum prison sentence after being charged with his Sixth DUI that resulted in the deaths of a Granite City couple and their unborn child. Donald Canterbery received 28 years in prison after pleading guilty aggravated drunk driving and related charges.

Canterbery’s blood-alcohol rate was 0.246 percent, which is more than three times the threshold for a drunken-driving charge in Illinois.  According to an accident reconstruction report, police calculated Canterbery’s 2006 Corvette was traveling 151 mph four seconds before the crash and 91 mph when it hit the rear of Arnold-Zimmer’s Hyundai. The wreck happened on Illinois 111 just north of Interstate 55.

Canterbery had five prior arrests for driving under the influence. When given a chance to make a statement in court, he declined. Since the crash, he’s been held in the Madison County Jail on $1 million bail. According to the licensed bail bonds services, he will have to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence, State’s Attorney Bill Mudge said.

“Twenty-eight years in the maximum sentence in this case. I am grateful that this came to a speedy conclusion, saving the families further heartache and grief that comes with a trial,” Mudge said.

Kristi Hosea, a victim-services specialist with Illinois Mothers Against Drunk Driving, attended the hearing Tuesday.

“MADD’s very pleased to see the maximum sentence come out of Madison County and we hope it sends the message that drunk driving will not be tolerated,” Hosea said.

To read the complete story reported by BND.Com, click here.

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

Two Studies Confirm Teens With Supportive Parents Leads To Fewer Accidents

Philadelphia Children’s Hospital released results to two recent studies that showed teens who communicate with their parents about their driving are involved in less accidents.

The studies are based on the nationally-representative National Young Driver Survey of more than 5,500 teenagers. The first study shows that teens who said their parents set clear rules, paid attention to where they were going and whom they were with, and did so in a supportive way were:

  • half as likely to crash
  • twice as likely to wear seat belts
  • 71 percent less likely to drive while intoxicated
  • 30 percent less likely to use a cell phone while driving

These findings are compared to teens who said their parents were less involved. 

A second study found that teens who reported being the main driver of a vehicle were twice as likely to be involved in a crash, compared with teens who said they shared a vehicle with other family members. Nearly 75 percent of the teens surveyed reported being the main driver of a car.

“Once they’re behind the wheel, teens have ultimate responsibility for their behavior” says Kenneth Ginsburg, MD, MSEd, co-author of the study. “But kids who said their parents set rules in a supportive way were half as likely to crash compared with teens who saw their parents as less involved.”

According to the researchers, there are specific things parents can do to keep teens safer around driving: set clear rules about driving; talk with kids about where they’re going and who they’re with; and make sure teens know the rules are in place because you care about them and their safety – not because you wish to control them. This approach may make it more likely they will tell you what is going on in their lives, helping you better follow through on the rules you set.”

The key here is to talk to your kids, know where they are going and who is riding in their car. Also, it appears that practicing safe driving tactics with you children in the car (like wearing your seatbelt and avoiding your cell phone) will positively influence your children by the time they can drive.

To read the entire article about the studies, which was released by State Farm, click here.

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