NICTD Investigating South Shore Train Accident

The Chicago Tribune reported this week that the Northern Indiana Commuter Transit District (“NICTD”) was investigating a freight train accident that occurred Monday night that left commuters stranded for hours on the South Shore Line.  A shipping container on a Canadian National freight train hit a bridge on Chicago’s South Side about 6 p.m., halting service on the South Shore Line. Passengers on eastbound trains during the prime commute hours were delayed by the accident.

Buses were dispatched for the commuters, but apparently it was impossible to board everyone in a timely fashion.  The NICTD is specifically looking into response time to the derailment to determine if they could have re-routed the passengers in a quicker fashion.

The NICTD is also assessing how it sends out alerts to learn from the incidents. Its first alert at 6 p.m. described the delay as “mechanical problems.” Its fifth alert at 8:30 p.m. described the incident as a derailment. By 9:30 p.m., an alert said the trains were moving and track cleared.

Luckily the freight train accident did not result in any fatalities or injuries as there were no train collisions or derailments with any of the commuter trains.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago train accident or Chicago bus accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant for a free legal consultation.


NTSB Blames CTA For Oversights In Last Year’s Blue Line Derailment


It’s been over a year since a CTA blue line train derailed in the early morning hours at O’Hare airport. The train flew off the tracks and up an escalator, injuring several passengers. Luckily there were no fatalities. It was reported multiple times that the conductor may have dozed off to sleep immediately prior to the train crash.

In response last week the National Traffic Safety Board (“NTSB”) held meetings in Washington D.C. to try and find some resolution as to what would cause the train to derail in such a manner. As the Chicago Sun-Times reported this week, the NTSB blamed the CTA for failing to prevent employee fatigue that they said was a factor in last year’s Blue Line crash. “The layers of protection designed to protect such an accident failed,” said Christopher Hart, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. The conductor was allegedly working her 12th straight day on the date of the train accident.

The investigators found that the conductor was suffering from “sleep debt” and was impaired by fatigue because of several factors.  “Chicago Transit Authority failed to effectively manage the operator’s work schedule to mitigate the risk of fatigue,” the NTSB said. Federal investigators recommended the Federal Transit Administration develop work scheduling programs that take into account the science of fatigue and include evaluation of the risks of fatigue. The federal agency found Haywood “was likely sleep-deprived,” though a CTA spokesman on Tuesday said she was not “exhausted.”

The NTSB also issued several other recommendations, including that the CTA install a transmission-based control system on all routes; such a system would automatically brake in times of emergency. The agency’s recommendation was extended to all transit agencies in the U.S. The agency also wants upgraded “event recorders” on each CTA car; those devices save certain information, such as the position of the controls that investigators might want to know after an accident.

The investigation also showed the middle track did not appear to have been originally intended to be used for arriving trains but had become commonly used for that purpose. That center track’s design, the NTSB found, “was not adequate to prevent a train from striking the bumping post near the end of the track.”

In summery, it is the NTSB’s opinion that the CTA should have worked out a better schedule to prevent an employee from working 12 straight days, which would have prevented a fatigued conductor behind the train’s wheels at the time of the accident. They also believed there could be a better safety brake system, which would have stopped the train on time and prevented it from derailing. The NTSB basically proved the injured passengers case for their attorneys as there were multiple items that could have prevented this accident. Again, we are lucky that no one died from this accident, but those who were injured should see compensation from the CTA for their medical bills, treatment, pain and suffering and lost wages as they were obviously at fault for this train accident.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a CTA bus accident or CTA train accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Mayor Emanuel’s Motorcade Caught Running Red Lights, Again.

Despite promises from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel that his motorcade would follow local traffic laws, they were caught by multiple cameras running red lights and even driving the wrong way. Back in January, in response to questions about traffic violations, the mayor responded: “”No one is above the law. Obey the law. Period.  Full stop,” Emanuel said.

Well, according to multiple news outlets, including, ABC 7,  NBC Chicago and My Fox Chicago, the mayor’s motorcade was shown by cameras running red lights at Lake Shore Drive and Belmont and at Cicero and Washington. These events took place on March 14, and March 21.

The videos, which can be seen on the Chicagoist website, clearly show that the violations were done by individual vehicles, not the case of a secondary vehicle trying to keep up with the first. This was the excuse the mayor gave back in January for previous violations.

The mayor’s office has yet to respond to these reports. This is interesting because Mayor Emanuel has stated over and over that red light cameras, speed cameras and pedestrian cross walk stop signs have all been implemented for public safety. These were not implemented for money making purposes, according to the mayor. Then why does the mayor and his staff continued to act as if they are above the law? Why have they not been ticketed and fined for these traffic violations? What if a car crash occurs due to these negligent actions? I’m looking forward to the mayor’s response.

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

Another Megabus Crash Injures 19 Passengers

Megabus, a discount transport company, popular for their low prices, is in the news again. Earlier this month one of their buses that left Chicago headed for Atlanta was involved in a car crash on I-65 outside Indianapolis. The bus was carrying 63 passengers, 19 of which were injured.

“For unknown reasons [the bus driver] failed to stop before the front of the bus collided with the rear of a semi-tractor trailer stopped in the left lane,” police said. Both the Megabus and the semi sustained “substantial” damage, and all vehicles involved had to be towed, police said.

This was the fourth bus crash involving a Megabus in Indiana since October. “Safety is our No. 1 priority, and Megabus is fully cooperating with the authorities with their investigation into the incident,” Megabus spokesman Sean Hughes said.

That was obviously the appropriate statement by Megabus, but we are left wonder whether Megabus is doing everything they can to ensure their passengers are safe.  Back in 2012 a Megabus crashed in Southern Illinois, killing one and injuring close to 50 others. A blown tire was suggested to be the cause of that accident. I believe their passengers and the public needs to know exactly what precautions are being taken to ensure the buses are safe. What type of inspections are being done? What types of tires are they using and how often are they replaced? What type of training and background screening are done on its’ drivers? These are the questions that need to be asked by the attorneys representing passengers injured in these accidents. These are the questions I would be asking because it appears that they are in the news all too often.

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

There’s A City Hall Dispute Over Designated Bike Lane On Kinzie Avenue

The Chicago Sun Times reported last week that Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward) is in the midst of a battle regarding the closing of the designated bicycle lane on Kinzie Avenue as new high rises are set to be built.

The Alderman introduced an ordinance last Wednesday that seeks to compel Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld to remove the protected bike lane on Kinzie “as required” by the planned commercial and residential Wolf Point development.

Reilly told the Sun Times that Scheinfeld is considering using her “commissioner’s authority to ignore that directive” agreed to by her predecessor and approved by the Chicago Plan Commission.

Reilly said “traffic congestion concerns” demand that the protected bike lane be removed. Reilly’s ordinance would require the city to remove the protected bike lane — along with “all associated signage, markings or barriers” — from the portion of West Kinzie Street between Dearborn and the west bank of the Chicago River.

“Kinzie is a very busy street. With the added density of some, close to 2 million square feet of occupied space on Wolf Point, there’ll be a lot more traffic. Traffic studies suggested that a bike lane should be removed to allow for proper traffic flow and safety, and the commissioner is now second-guessing that,” he said.

Reilly’s plan would include moving the designated bike lane from Kinzie to Grand Avenue. According to the article, Scheinfeld has argued that CDOT did an internal study that suggests “it would not be safe to move these lanes from Kinzie to Grand Avenue,” the alderman said.

It is unclear what the details of the CDOT study show. Reilly contends that the developer’s behind the Wolf Point project did their own professional study, which showed that the move to Grand Avenue would be completely viable.

It will be interesting to see if the Mayor intervenes in this situation. Alderman Reilly has clearly been a proponent of designated bike lanes as you can find them all over his Ward, including up and down Dearborn and Wells streets. It is possible that the Commissioner is receiving negative feedback from bicyclist groups opposing the closing of the Kinzie lane. I’m not an avid bicyclist so I can’t comment on whether Grand Avenue would be just as viable or safe as Kinzie but on its’ face it looks like a reasonable alternative in order to allow this construction to go forward.

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

Chicago Ranked Again As One Of Worst Traffic Cities

A new study released by has concluded that in 2015, Chicago has the 8th worst traffic in the United States. According to the study, an average commute that should be 30 minutes is typically 50 minutes in Chicago. The worst times for commuting are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings and Thursday evenings. The best times are Friday mornings and Monday evenings. 

Luckily for us who live here in Chicago, the city did not rank in the top ten worldwide for the worst traffic. According to the sturdy, the worst city for traffic in the U.S. is Los Angeles and the worst in the world is Mexico City.

What does this mean for traffic accidents for Chicago drivers? Obviously, this is not good. The more congestion, the higher the odds a commuter will be involved in a car crash. Plus, the added commute time can add to stress levels, which can affect a driver’s ability. I have no data or studies to back this up, and it is simply this writer’s opinion, but I believe if there is bumper to bumper traffic, the more likely a driver will pick up his or her phone and become distracted. Think about it. If a driver is bored and sitting in traffic, doesn’t it seem more likely that they will tool around and text on their phone? I believe so, and I also believe that the more distracted drivers out there will obviously lead to even more car accidents

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

Florida Judges Throw Out 24,000 Red Light Camera Tickets

As I have written multiple times the last few months, red light cameras have been under close scrutiny here in Chicago, especially during this mayoral election year. The scrutiny hit a tipping point a few weeks back, when city hall decided to remove red light cameras in fifty (50) different intersections across the city

A tipping point has been met in Florida. Time magazine recently reported that two (2) judges threw out 24,000 red light cameras because the enforcement procedure violated state law.   an Arizona-based vendor named American Traffic Solutions was responsible for reviewing the footage captured by red light cameras in Florida, and then it forwarded the specifics on to police. Judges ruled that the involvement by the out-of-state party is itself a violation of state law, hence the decision to negate traffic citations worth $6.3 million.

The article pointed out that more and more municipalities are dumping their red light camera programs. The state of New Jersey ended its red light camera program at the end of 2014, while officials and driver advocates in New York City have been demanding more transparency to red light camera systems—because there’s reason to be skeptical about the claims they actually improve driver and pedestrian safety.

What will happen in Chicago? Despite recent studies questioning the safety of red light cameras, allegations of fraud and short yellow light time, I believe it will be status quo. Red light cameras will not be going anywhere.

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