Illinois Distracted Driving Summit Gives Victim’s Families Time To Vent

Illinois hosted its first distracted driving summit last week in Addison. The event gave a forum for sharing stories by family members of victims of distracted diving accidents. I could not imagine the grieving that these people have gone through, and I believe this event was a positive step towards putting the dangers of testing and driving into the forefront.

One of the speakers, NHTSA Secretary, Ray LaHood, stressed that people need to change their mindset when it comes to the use of cell phones while driving.  “I am willing to bet that a majority of you have used this while driving,” LaHood said, holding up a cell phone.

It was pointed out during the summit that at least 1.6 million traffic crashes a year in the United States involve drivers who use cell phones or are texting.  In Illinois, there have been more than 4,900 crashes involving cell phone use since 2007, when the state Transportation Department began tracking such data.

These numbers need to go down, and the first step took place last year when Illinois made it illegal to text and drive.

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

IDOT Instills New Dooring Policy To Protect Bicyclists

I wrote a few weeks back about attempts by bicycle advocates to bring media and legislative attention to dooring accidents, which would hopefully lead to the protection of bicycle riders. The Active Transportation Alliance, a safety advocacy group that represents bicyclists, had appealed to IDOT officials, without success, since last year to collect dooring data as a means to understand the extent of the problem.The Chicago Tribune reported today that Governor Quinn announced that the Illinois Department of Transportation  (IDOT) will use new rules about the reporting of dooring accidents.

From here on out  police departments across Illinois will be required to record “dooring” accidents on Illinois traffic crash forms.  The dooring data will be incorporated into annual traffic accident summaries compiled by the Illinois Department of Transportation. Officials described the policy shift as a starting point to help reduce dooring crashes, which can result in injuries and deaths.

“Anyone who rides a bike can tell you that dooring is a serious issue,” Quinn said. “One of the best ways we can increase public safety is by making sure we’ve got the best and most comprehensive data possible. That’s why we’ve made this change.”

Currently, Chicago has its’ own bicycle protection laws, which include fines up to $500 for opening a vehicle door in the path of a cyclist. A city ordinance also requires drivers to stay at least 3 feet away from bicyclists; prohibits left or right turns in front of cyclists; and bans driving, standing or parking in a bicycle lane.

This a positive step towards the protection of bicyclists, especially in areas with heavy bicycle traffic, like Chicago. Hopefully the data collected will help legislators and IDOT develop specific laws and studies that will help prevent dooring accidents in the future.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago dooring accident or Chicago car accident, then contact Chicago car crash attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free consultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at

Doctor Operates On Boy’s Wrong Eye

A surgical blunder took place in Washington State last week, which – – to this personal injury attorney – – is another reason why tort reform is a bad idea. The Associated Press reported that  four year old, Jesse Matlock, had surgery performed on the wrong eye.  The surgery was to be performed on his right eye to prevent it from wandering. The boy’s parents said Dr. Shawn Goodman operated on the boy’s left eye before repeating the operation on the correct eye. The parents said that since the operation, they have not seen any improvement in the right eye and now the boy’s left eye appears to be wandering.

“Our hope is to never have it happen again in any of our hospitals,” said Dr. Lori Morgan, CEO of Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland.  The parents said they have hired a lawyer and were considering a malpractice lawsuit. Gaul said she is concerned about the effects of the unnecessary surgery on her son’s vision.

This is a scary story and also a valuable lesson about this country’s tort system. Doctors are human, and they make mistakes.  Doctors work very hard and spend many years in school to achieve their success. Regardless, doctors need to be held accountable like everyone else when they commit avoidable mistakes.  Obviously this surgical mishap was not done on purpose, but the point is we currently have a system in place that will protect helpless injured patients like Jesse Matlock.  Tort reform advocates like to argue that our Court system is rampant with frivolous lawsuits. The fact is medical malpractice lawsuits, and most serious injury cases, are very expensive to litigate. Personal injury attorneys must look at cases very closely before taking them. Do to these costs and high risk, medical malpractice cases are not flooding our nations courthouses. 

No doctor is perfect and they should be held accountable when they do things like operate on the wrong body part. If Jesse Matlock has permanent vision impairment, or now has two (2) wondering eyes, he should be properly compensated for that loss. If the insurance company lobbyists have their way, then helpless victims like Jesse Matlock my not be properly compensation.  This, to me, is a perfect example as to why tort reform is a path that Illinois and this country should not take.

If you or someone you know has a potential Illinois medical malpractice case or has suffered from a catastrophic injury, then call Chicago accident attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free consultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at

Illinois Hosting Distracted Driving Summit This Week

I have written numerous times in the past about distracted driving and the dangers of texting and driving. The National Highway & Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has hosted a distracted driving summit the past two (2) years, which has been aimed at sharing research and statistics and also spread the word about the dangers of using a cell phone while driving. Illinois is getting into the act as they are hosting their own summit on Thursday April 21 in Addison, IL. 

The speakers for this event include:

Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transportation                                                                                                             

Jesse White, Secretary of State, Illinois                                                                                                                               

John D. Cullerton, Illinois Senate President                                                                                                                     ]

John D’Amico, Illinois Representative

The summit will include a victim impact panel, updates on new  and proposed changes in legislation, updates on research and, of course, keynote speeches by Secretaries LaHood and White.

It will be interesting to hear the outcomes from this event.

Remember, if you have been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call
Chicago accident attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free consultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at

2011 National Work Zone Awareness Week Begins Monday

The Chicago Tribune reported this past week about a coalition effort by local and statewide organizations to bring awareness about work zone safety.

On Friday, the groups met to kick off the awareness week and ask people to be cautious of highway workers on the road. Illinois State Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig asked motorists to be alert for construction workers, slow down and drive distraction-free without cell phones.

Though highway auto accidents and motor vehicle fatalities are down in recent years, state officials want motorists to be aware that highway workers are put in a very vulnerable situation. Provisional data show 32 people died in work zone crashes during 2010. The Illinois Department of Transportation says that’s one more death than in 2009 but they add that 2010 had the largest construction season in state history. Worker fatalities decreased from five in 2009 to three in 2010.

Remember to always slow down and to put your cell phone down when driving through a construction zone. 

If you or someone you know has been injured in a Chicago construction zone accident or Chicago car accident, then call Chicago accident attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free consultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at

Toddler Dies In Chicago Area Roller Coaster Accident

A terrible tragedy occurred on Saturday night when a three (3) year old toddler fell from a Roller Coaster at Go Bananas family entertainment center in Norridge, Illinois.

Chicago’s CBS News reported that an autopsy Sunday determined Jayson Dansby died of multiple injuries, when he was struck by a roller coaster car and when he fell from the roller coaster, according to the medical examiner’s office. His death was ruled an accident. Jayson then fell about 3 or 4 feet from the moving roller coaster.

“For some reason, he crawled out from underneath the safety bar and he fell and died from head injuries,’’ Norridge police chief Jobe said. The ride is in an area that is “walled-off” from the rest of the business and the building is divided into several sections. “It’s dark but it’s not pitch dark. It’s darker than the rest of the rides,’’ said Jobe.  “Part of the ride goes behind another wall and that’s where he fell.’’ The highest off the ground the roller coaster goes is about eight feet.

I think the first question that needs to be asked is why they would allow a three-year old onto a roller coaster in the first place. Second, if it is deemed safe for three-year olds, then why in the world did this entertainment center allow children that young to ride without an older companion. I think Go Bananas and their insurer are going to have to answer these questions and many more during the investigation.

If you or someone you know has suffered from a personal injury or has a wrongful death claim, then contact Chicago accident attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free consultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at