$5 Billion From Infrastructure Bill To Fund “Safe Streets & Roads For All Program”

U.S. Department of Transportation head, Pete Buttigieg, announced that this week that $5 billion from the recent infrastructure bill would be used to address traffic safety as traffic deaths have soared in recent years. Buttigieg stated that the money would flow tocities around the country over the next five (5) years. The money will slowing down cars, carving out bike paths, wider sidewalks and encouraging commuters to public transit. The department titled the new program “Safe Streets & Roads For All.” More specifically, the Department state the money would focus on adding rumble strips to slow cars or installing speed cameras, which the department says could provide more equitable enforcement than police traffic stops; flashing beacons for pedestrian crosswalks; new “safe routes” via sidewalks or other protected pathways to school or public transit in underserved communities; and other “quick build” roadway changes designed with community input. Roadway deaths represent about 95% of all U.S. transportation deaths, at more than 38,000 in 2020. In 2021, data released so far has already shown U.S. traffic fatalities rising to 31,720 through the third quarter, the highest nine-month period since 2006. Before 2020, the number of U.S. traffic deaths had fallen for three straight years. “We face a national crisis of fatalities and serious injuries on our roadways, and these tragedies are preventable – so as a nation we must work urgently and collaboratively to save lives,” Buttigieg said. He said the money “will help communities large and small take action to protect all Americans on our roads.” “We have become far too accustomed to the loss of life and serious injuries happening on our roadways,” he said. Let’s hope cities (including Chicago) can work quickly with the Department of Transportion so that these plans can be implemented. Traffic fatalities have risen sharply, especially since the pandemic began, and thoughtful safety plans should help curb this trend for all americans whether you live in a rural community or a big city and everywhere in between. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago traffic accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Illinois Supreme Court Issues Favorable Ruling For Those Injured By Companies and Their Employees

In McQueen v. Green 2022 IL 126666, the Plaintiff was a driver who was injured after being struck by a truck. The Plaintiff McQueen sued both the driver and his employer, Pan-Oceanic. The defendant employer admitted that the defendant driver, Green, was its’ employee and was within the course and scope of his employment when the accident occurred. The Plaintiff also alleged in his complaint that Pan-Oceanic was negligent for ordering Green to drive the truck immediately prior to the accident, despite being informed by Green that the trailer had been improperly loaded. At trial, an Illinois jury found in favor for the Plaintiff against the employer but also found that the defendant driver was not liable. The defendant employer appealed, arguing that the verdict was inconsistent. The defendant argued that Pan-Oceanic could not be held liable for the Plaintiff’s damages if their employee was not found liable. The appelate court agreed and over-turned the jury’s verdict.

The Plaintiff then appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court, who then issued their opinion on April 22 of this year that it is “settled law” that a plaintiff may plead and prove multiple causes of action and that, so long as there is a good-faith factual basis for a plaintiff’s claim of direct negligence against an employer, the plaintiff is allowed to pursue that claim in addition to a claim of vicarious liability against the employee. The Supreme Court held that the verdicts were not inconsistent because they involve two (2) theories of negligence. First, that the Plaintiff alleged that the employee/driver drove the truck negligently when he allowed the trailer to swing and hit the Plaintiff’s vehicle. And second, the Plaintiff alleged that the employer was negligent because they new that the trailer had been loaded improperly and knew it was dangerous, yet still order their driver to get on the highway and bring the trailor back. The Supreme Court reinstated the jury’s verdict. This was the right decision by Illinois’ highest court. It is perfectly plausible for an employee driver to do nothing wrong, but still cause an accident because their employer ordered them to drive a truck that was inherinty dangerous for being loaded improperly. As long as separate counts are brought against the driver and the employer (which was done in this case), the Court came to the proper conclusion. This is a victory for injury victims in Illinois.

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