Anyone who looks out their windows or gets in their cars and drives around Chicago’s expressways can see that motorist traffic is a fraction of what it was two (2) months ago. The Illinois Department of Transportation (“IDOT”) confirmed what we see everyday as they released April traffic numbers. No surprise, they are way down.
According to IDOT traffic on Chicago area expressways was down anywhere from 29 to 45 percent this April compared with April 2019. IDOT said that on the Kennedy Expressway, the number of work week inbound vehicles dropped from 1.1 million vehicles to 626,000, a 45 percent drop. Statewide traffic is estimated to be down about 37 percent. Illinois Toll Highway Authority said April saw a reduction fo 55 percent in traffic volume, resulting in $52 million less in tolls than expected
For essential workers or those who choose to go into their offices are obviously seeing much faster commute times. According to IDOT the outbound evening rush hour are an average of 21 to 24 minutes faster.
IDOT to not release any information regarding Illinois traffic accidents for April.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron J. Bryant for a free legal consultation.
As many would suspect traffic is way down during the Covid-19 shutdown. There have been an estimated 70% less Chicago car accidents since the shelter in place order began in mid March. This comes as no surprise due to the lack of motorists on the road. Regardless, according to the Northwestern University Transportation Center (“NUTC”), we have seen an increase in the severity of Chicago car crashes.
According Northwestern’s study, found that after the stay-at-home order went into effect, the percentage of incapacitating or fatal crashes ticked up. “You had so much less traffic,” said NUTC Director Hani Mahmassani. “That was so unusual. You’re so used to driving very slowly on Chicago streets, so when you had that, people’s natural instinct was to speed up.”
Chicago and the state of Illinois are not alone with these numbers According to the National Safety Council (“NSC”). “In some states, anywhere from 50% to 70% less miles (are driven), but the fatalities are up,” said NSC President and CEO Lorraine Martin. “We really need to get to the root cause and understand what the behavior is that’s causing this kind of disturbing spike in very severe crashes.”
Why the increase in traffic fatalities and severe injuries? The NSC believes drivers feel at liberty to drive at excessive speeds as very few others are on the road. Local Chicago officials believe they have seen an uptick in speeders since the shutdown. The Chicago Department of Transportation warned of a 14% of increases speeders on city roadways. The Chicago Police Department and Illinois State Police said they’ve increased visibility and have some targeted patrol efforts. But Martin says road safety doesn’t just fall on law enforcement.
Even if there are less drivers on the road, it is important to stay vigilant and aware of others on the road. There are many who believe they can speed and drive recklessly when no one else is out there.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.
I wrote a few weeks back about Illinois Governer JB Pritzker’s announcement that all Illinois essential workers who become infected with Covid-19 would have automatic workers’ compensation protection. In other words, they would not have to prove the usual step that their injury (“Covid diagnosis”) was directly caused while working within the course and scope of their employment. Following this order and amendment to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association filed a lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order blocking this change to the Act.
The temporary restraining order was granted by a Sangamon County judge. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission immediately issued a statement stating: “The commission voted unanimously this morning to repeal the emergency rules that took effect April 16.” It is unclear whether this ruling by the judge will be appealed or whether the Illinois legislature will take this up and vote on making an ammendment to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.
This is an unfortunate turn of events as essential workers such as nurses, medical professionals, retail workers and delivery drivers will not have automatic protection despite risking their health by going into work every day. If these essential workers do become infected with Covid-19, and they believe it happened while at work, they still have the right to file an Illinois Workers’ Compensation claim. Although, their attorney will have to prove at trial that the Covid-19 was caused while at work. This would need to be done through medical expert testimony. Basically, a doctor would have to testify (either through their records or at deposition) that they believe within a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the worker’s Covid-19 diagnosis was caused by their exposure at work as a front-line essential worker. These claims can be made, it will just be a lot more difficult without an amendment to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.
If you or a loved one were seriously injured in a Chicago work accident or have an Illinois workers compensation claim, please call Chicago work comp attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.