Chicago’s Traffic Congestion Is Still Terrible

Both the Chicago Tribune and Crain’s reported last week that there are five (5) stretches of roads in the Chicago area that are ranked within the top twenty (2) most congested in the United States.

The results are based on a study conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute called the Urban Mobility Scorecard. No. 4 nationally was I-90/94 westbound from 35th Street to the Edens junction. The eastbound stretch from Montrose Avenue to Ruble Street, just south of Roosevelt Road, ranked No. 7 nationally. No. 14 nationally was the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) eastbound starting at the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) and extending to the Kennedy at the Edens (I-94) merge. The study concluded that the Chicago area ranked No. 8 overall for the nation’s worse traffic.

As I have discussed recently on this blog, a portion of the traffic problem (and the increase in Illinois traffic accidents) is that the economy has rebounded and there are more drivers on the road. “The national congestion recession is over,” the report concluded. “The total congestion problem is larger than the pre-recession levels.”

What does this mean for Chicago drivers and their commute times? A driver in the Chicago region who really needs to arrive on time at a destination that is 20 minutes away in light traffic should instead budget a full hour to get there during peak travel times, said Bill Eisele, a senior research engineer at the transportation institute and the report’s co-author.

What is the solution to this gridlock? The authors of this study believe that lawmakers must act aggressively to address the traffic issues before the problems get worse. Experts say possible enhancements include expanding roadway capacity, providing incentives for people to alter their travel times away from the 6 to 10 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m. peak hours, and expanding public transit and attracting new riders with new services that include new rail lines and bus rapid transit, airport express trains and options directed at luring reverse commuters from their cars to trains and buses.

If you or someone you love has been 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.

Missouri Supreme Court Rules On Red Light Cameras

The Kansas City Star reported this week that the Missouri Supreme Court ruled on the penalty portion of red light cameras throughout the state. Previously, red light camera tickets were treated similar to parking tickets. A violator was mailed their ticket and forced to pay the fine but points were not assessed to their driver’s license. In their recent ruling, the Court held that the violations should be considered moving violations. So the red-light camera company serving many Missouri cities said that the cameras would have to capture the driver’s photo, something their technology allows them to do. In addition, the citation would result in points being taken off a license.

Like in Chicago, many in Kansas City and St. Louis believed that the cameras did not improve safety at busy intersections. According to the Star the Kansas City Police Department prepared a report in May 2012, which concluded that the red-light cameras had positively affected driver behavior, resulting in fewer violations and fewer wrecks at those intersections. The cameras in a few instances also provided video evidence to help solve violent, gun-related crimes.

No such report has been made here in Chicago. In fact, a study done by Texas A&M researchers revealed that intersections with red light cameras actually increased the number of rear-end car accidents, while decreasing the number of t-bone time traffic accidents. The study concluded that their was a zero net safety benefit from red light traffic cameras.
It is unclear at this point whether the Illinois Courts will follow suit with Missouri by ruling that red light tickets will be considered moving violations.
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

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.

NASCAR Driver Tony Stewart Named In Wrongful Death Lawsuit

I wrote extensively last year about the fatal car crash involving Tony Stewart when his sprint car crashed into another driver who had exited his vehicle during the race. The sprint car race took place Canandaigua Motorsports Park on Aug. 9, 2014.

As many recall, a criminal investigation occurred following the fatal car accident and Mr. Stewart was absolved of any criminal wrongdoing, including negligent homicide, often referred to as manslaughter. Manslaughter charges can be sought when the crime does not rise to the level of an intentional act. Rather, the criminal act is based on some sort conscious disregard for others, which leads to another’s death. These types of charges are often brought in fatal drunk driving cases. Regardless, a grand jury was convened and they did not believe that Mr. Stewart’s actions were intentional or rose to the level of manslaughter. The grand jury concluded that Kevin Ward’s death was an accident.

Being cleared of criminal actions did not absolve Mr. Stewart from liability in civil court. The family of the deceased driver has filed a civil wrongful death lawsuit alleging Stewart of gross negligence, saying he gunned his engine and put his car into a skid as 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr. walked onto the track after a crash at Canandaigua Motorsports Park on Aug. 9, 2014. The car struck Ward, and he was killed. The lawsuit notes Stewart’s reputation for having a temper and claims that Stewart deliberately veered toward Ward after the collision.

It will be interesting to see how far this case goes into litigation and whether the case actually goes to trial. Mr. Stewart’s legal team will no doubt argue that Mr. Ward was negligent himself by exiting his car and putting himself into harm’s way. If this case goes to the jury, I could see them concluding that Mr. Ward was at least partially at fault for stepping out into the track. The key will be whether the Ward family can prove that Mr. Stewart skidded intentionally and that was a negligent act considering he was so close to the other driver. Further, Ward’s family must show that the skidding action caused Mr. Stewart’s vehicle to fishtail and strike Mr. Ward.

If you or someone you live has been involved 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.