Did The Pandemic Help Cause The Surge In Traffic Fatalities

I have written about the ebbs and flows of traffic patterns in Illinois and accross the U.S. since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Back in the summer of 2020 data showed predictably that traffic was way down once the pandemic shutdown began. Despite much fewer drivers on the road, there was a significan uptick in reckless driving accident. Observers and experts believed that with fewer cars on the road, drivers were more emboldened to drive faster.

We are almost two year in to the pandemic and the numbers for traffic fatalities, and specifically pedestrian traffic deaths are staggering. According to the New York Times Crashes killed more than 6,700 pedestrians in 2020, up about 5 percent from the estimated 6,412 the year before, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. These numbers are somewhat misleading because there was much less traffic on the road in 2020. Another study concluded that it was actually a 21% increase in pedestrian deaths based on the number of drivers. Although, we don’t have the numbers yet, it looks like there was another increase in 2021.

What is causing this behavior in drivers and how can we prevent it? One expert quoted by the Times believes it has to do with the number of aging drivers and the large number of SUVs on the roads which are much larger and carry a heavier impact. Others point to the increase in street racing and irratic driving. There’s no doubt those are all contributing factors. One point the article did not raise is the increase in distracted drivers. Many people still refuse to put their phones down while driving. Although the penalties for driving while texting in Illinois have become more strict over the last ten years, there’s still an argument for higher fines. Especially in situations involving injury or deat.

But has the pandemic actually led to this rise in fatalities? I don’t think we’ll know for several years. There will need to be a hard look at all the numbers as to whether alcohol was involved or whether these accidents involved excessive speeds. Regardless, i think this is an epimic right now and will continue to until we see these numbers go down.

Of you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Illinois personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Jane Byrne Interchange Construction To Be Completed This Year

Those of us who drive in an around downtown Chicago recieved great news this week. The Illinois Department of Transportation (“IDOT”) announced that the Jane Byrne Interchange (where I-290 connects with I-90/94 downtown) that the majority of construction renovations will be completed by December 2022.

“We are actually scheduled to complete major work by December of this year,” said Eric Ray, IDOT District 1 area construction supervisor. “That includes the northbound and southbound lanes and also the Jackson and Adams Street bridges, work on Ida B. Wells and 290 and the ramps that connect them.”

This has been a long time waiting as construction began back in 2013. As I have writtin many times in the past, Chicago consistantly ranks as the one of the top most traffic congested cities in the U.S. and the world. A lot of that congestion is created by the bottleneck at 290 and 90/94 interchange. Parts of the interchange have been shut down over the last 9 years, creating larger and longer traffic jams. I am still not sure how much the completion of this project will help, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. There still needs to be improvements on highways outside of downtown that will hopefully ease the bottleneck coming in and out of the city. As I wrote a few years back, look for some of the federal infrastructure money that was passed last year to go to these road improvements.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago traffic accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Tesla Vehicles Recalled For Rolling Stop Signs

Multiple new outlets, including the Associated Press, announced this week that that oveer 54,000 Tesla vehicles are being recalled because their “Full Self-Driving” software lets them roll through stop signs without coming to a complete halt.

The recall shows that Tesla programmed its vehicles to violate the law in most states, where police will ticket drivers for disregarding stop signs. The Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety offices, said it is not aware of any state where a rolling stop is legal.

The recall covers Model S sedans and X SUVs from 2016 through 2022, as well as 2017 to 2022 Model 3 sedans and 2020 through 2022 Model Y SUVs.

Tesla agreed to the recall after receiving feed back from the Nation Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”). The NHTSA says failing to stop for a sign can increase the risk of a crash. “The Vehicle Safety Act prohibits manufacturers from selling vehicles with defects posing unreasonable risks to safety, including intentional design choices that are unsafe,” the agency said. “If the information shows that a safety risk may exist, NHTSA will act immediately.”

This seems like a sneaky move by Tesla to include “rolling stop sign” in their software. It is true that a lot of drivers probably roll through a stop sign when it seem safe and no other cars are around. But what if the Tesla was in auto-pilot mode in a four-way intersection and the driver isn’t paying attention? I agree with the NHTSA that this is unsafe. Tesla did release a statement that there were no recorded traffic accidents resulting from the “rolling stop sign” mode.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a 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.