Chicago E-Scooter Program Will Become Permanent

Multiple local news outlets reported that the Chicago Department of Transportation (“CDOT”) has pushed forward a vote make Chicago’s -e-scooter program permanent after two sperate pilot programs. The City’s transportation committee approved making the program permanent and the entire city council will vote to enact today.

If approved the new program will authorize the transportation department to issue up to three licenses to scooter-sharing companies, with each company free to deploy 2,000 scooters per day, from 5 a.m. to midnight. The city will receive $1 per day for each scooter plus a 9% lease tax.

The new program will make the scooter more available throughout the city and for a longer period of time. The scooters will not be allowed on the lakefront. The technology will disable the scooter once they leave an authorized zone.

The safety issue, which appears to have been addressed by the transportation committee, is that the scooters will not work on sidewalks. CDOT has apparently been told that the technology will shut down a scooter once a rider tries to use on a sidewalk. I am somewhat dubious of this program due to the already crowded streets and bike lanes. The reporting on the committee meeting did now say whether scooters will be designated to bike lanes. If they are, will this create an issue between scooter riders and bicyclists? Also, will helmets be required for all scooter riders. These are some of the safety issues I believe need to discussed. Regardless, this program is moving forward as the vote is expected to pass today.

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

Central Illinois Traffic Fatalities Up In 2021

I wrote about Illinois traffic death rate for 2020 a few weeks back. It surprisingly showed an increase in traffic fatalities despite the pandemic and periodic shutdowns around the state. The Illinois Department of Transportation (“IDOT”) release numbers for 2021, which shows that traffic deaths are down overall for the state, but certain counties have actually seen an increase so far this year. There were almost 1,195 traffic related fatalities in Illinois in 2020. To date that number sits at 932.

Shelby County is up two deaths, Christian County is up three, Tazewell and Montgomery counties are both up four, and Effingham County has five more deaths than last year. IDOT says this data includes everyone who was killed inside a car itself, and any pedestrians or cyclists that also may have been killed because of an accident.

You can click here to view IDOT’s data in a snapshot.

It’s unclear why the numbers have jumped in that part of the state. Traffic experts are convinced that the 2020 increase in Illinois was due to more risky driving behavior. Some drivers assumed they could drive at dangerous rates of speed because so few vehicles were out on the road. It’s unclear what is going on in these counties. It could be an anomaly. I think we’ll have to take a look at all of the numbers at the end of the year.

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

NHTSA Reported Higher Traffic Deaths In 2020 Despite Pandemic

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) reported some disturbing numbers regarding 2020 traffic deaths. The administration reported an estimated 38,680 traffic fatalities in 2020, which was the highest number since 2007. It also reflects a  7.2 percent as compared to the 36,096 fatalities reported in 2019.

These numbers are so disturbing because there were so many less motorists on the road in 2020 due to the pandemic. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) shows vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 2020 decreased by about 430.2 billion miles, or about a 13.2-percent decrease.  If there were fewer drivers on the road, why was it so much more dangerous to drive?

According to the NHTSA report driving patterns and behaviors changed significantly, and that drivers who remained on the roads engaged in more risky behavior, including speeding, failing to wear seat belts, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Traffic data indicates that average speeds increased throughout the year, and examples of extreme speeds became more common, while the evidence also shows that fewer people involved in crashes used their seat belts.

My unscientific opinion is that drivers felt more emboldened to partake in the above risky behaviors because no one else was out on the roads. Or, certain drivers may have believed that with fewer drivers around them, there would be less police out looking for speeders. Whatever the reason for this behavior, it is a worrisome trend. All the numbers and statistics I have posted over last several years tended to point the finger at distracted driving as the main cause of increased fatalities. The NHTSA believes 2020 that it was more than distracted driving. It was clearly outright reckless speeding and drinking and driving. Let’s all hope that 2020 was an anomaly and drivers begin using more basic caution like wearing seatbelts, putting their phones down and driving a reasonable speed.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago injury lawyers at the Bryant Law Group for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

IDOT Offering Free Child Car Seat Safety Check This Saturday

The Illinois Department of Transportation (“IDOT”) is offering a free child seat safety check throughout the state this Saturday September 25. If you have a child car seat that needs to be installed or if you want IDOT installation experts to check the safety of your seat, you can go to one of various locations this Saturday.

During Seat Check Saturday, technicians will provide instruction on how to install and use car seats correctly and help determine if your children are in the right seat for their age, height and weight. In Illinois and across the United States, an estimated four out of five car seats are installed incorrectly, contributing to traffic crashes as a leading cause of death of children. The latest National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research shows that more than one-third of children 12 and younger who died in car crashes were not properly restrained. 

State law requires children to ride in a child safety seat until age 8 and rear-facing until age 2.

You can go to  buckleupSaturdayillinois.org and search the map for a location near you.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a Chicago traffic accident or a Chicago truck crash, please call Chicago personal injury lawyers at The Bryant Law Group, LLC. for a free legal consultation at 312-514-1076.

Chicago Traffic Surges Past Pre-Pandemic Levels

According to multiple news outlets, including NBC 5, traffic congestion has finally reached and now surpassed pre-pandemic levels in the Chicagoland area. If you live in or around Chicago, I am certain you have noticed the increase of traffic levels that started over the summer. Although, I do not believe that the downtown loop is back to it’s pre-pandemic levels, I do believe that traffic in the surrounding highways are back to “normal” and the data backs this up.

TrafficCarma, a mobile app that analyzes real-time traffic information and commuter data, found that during the late morning hours, 10 a.m. to noon, vehicle volumes rose as much as 31% compared to before the pandemic. Both the 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. hours saw significant increases during the five weeks that began in August, with traffic volumes up by at least 21% each week. Traffic in the 9 a.m. hour also exceeded pre-pandemic levels, with weekly increases ranging between 11% and 19%. During the first week of August, which started on the second of the month, traffic volumes during the 6 a.m., 7 a.m., 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. hours were down by at least 10% each hour compared to the onset of the pandemic. For the 7 a.m. hour, the volumes had decreased by as much as 23%.

Although the Delta variant has spread rapidly across the country (including Illinois) that has not kept people home. People are out and about and back to commuting to work and elsewhere at record levels. Although, the study does not provide details, I believe that a portion of this traffic is from summer travelers and, of course, schools opening back up in person.

I am going to continue to track these numbers, and will be interested to see if the number of traffic accidents increases along with the amount of traffic.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago accident attorneys at The Bryant Law Group, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Do Chicago Speed Cameras Promote Safety Or Are They Or A Money Grab

I’ve written on this site many times in the past about read light cameras and speeder cameras and whether they actually make Chicago’s streets and intersections safer. The research has shown that red light cameras actually provide a net neutral benefit to Chicago’s streets. That is, studies have shown that overall intersections are not any safer or more dangerous when they have red light cameras. This is research that was done by Texas A&M University’s traffic safety department. I think it is fair to say that if the cameras do not make intersections safer, then they are clearly there to collect extra money for the city.

The same question needs to be asked about Chicago’s speeder cameras. As I wrote earlier this year, a new law went into effect on March 1 that fines drivers caught by these cameras for going 6 mph over the speed limit. Those tickets are $35 and $100 for driving 11 mph over the speed limit. It’s important to point out that these tickets are not moving violations. In response to backlash about this new law, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement that the lower-speed change was due to “an alarming increase in vehicle speeding and traffic fatalities.” Cameras affected are in “Children’s Safety Zones, which are operational near schools when they are in session and children are present, and in parks during hours when they are open.” The city said its goal is to not issue tickets, but to encourage safer driving behavior. 

According to Chicago’s ABC 7 News, over 1 million speed camera tickets have been issued since March 1, 2021. Again, we have to ask the question, after all the lost money during the Covid-19 pandemic, is this a money grab by the city? Is this a way for the city to make up for lost revenues? I think the answer is clearly yes. I won’t change my mind unless the city or some other outside group provides data that the areas with these cameras have shown a decrease in car accidents, pedestrian accidents and/or traffic fatalities.

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.

Illinois Governor Signs Prejudgment Interest Act

Earlier this month, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 72, also known as the “prejudgment interest act.” The new law, which goes into effect on July 1, 2021, adds 6% yearly interest to any verdicts entered on personal injury or wrongful death cases. The Illinois Senate previously passesd a similar bill that awarded 9% interest, but was vetoed by the governor. He asked that the parties compromise, and SB 72 was passed and the governor eventually signed the bill.

There are some important issues and caveats that must be pointed out. First, the prejudgement interest will only be added if there is a verdict is entered on the case. Second, the interest only begins to accrue once the lawsuit has been filed. The new law provides that for claims that occurred before the effective date, prejudgment interest shall begin on the date the action is filed or the effective date of the bill (July 1, 2021), whichever is later. So if my firm filed a new personal injury lawsuit on June 10 of this year (coincidentally we did), then the prejudgment interest clock does not start until July 1. If we file a different lawsuit after July 1, the interest clock begins accruing on the date of filing as it is the later date.

Also, it’s important to point out that the Act allows defendants the opportunity to reduce prejudgment interest through early settlement offers. The value of settlement offers made within the first 12 months of the filing of a lawsuit are to be credited against the judgment amount rendered at trial before calculating prejudgment interest, and if that settlement offer meets or exceeds the judgment, no prejudgment interest will apply. Finally, the proposed law will not apply to lawsuits filed against the state, a local unit of government, a school district, community college district or any other governmental entity.

Obviously as a personal injury lawyer, I am very happy with this bill and proud of the Plaintiff’s bar that worked so hard to get this bill passed and signed into law. I also believe the law has teeth for larger cases where there are little or no offers on the table during the first year of litigation. I think we could see this bill push insurance companies and defendants into making better settlement offers on cases. It will take a year or two before we see how this bill starts affecting Illinois injury cases.

If you or a loved one were seriously injured in Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyers at The Bryant Law Group for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

April Is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

The Illinois State Police are are partnering with over 200 law enforcement agencies around the state this month to promote traffic safety and bring awareness to distracted driving. April is distracted driving awareness month around the country, and the Illinois State Police’s initiative this year is called “drop it and drive.” That is, put down your phone and focus on the road. In case you get involved in an accident and sustain injuries, get a consultation at QC Kinetix for regenerative treatment.

he 200 law enforcement agencies will be doing nothing but focusing on distracted driving. These special officer details that will on a grant through the Illinois Department of Transportation (“IDOT”).

According to a personal injury lawyer, around 26,000 people died in U.S. crashes involving a distracted driver between 2012 and 2019. That is an incredible number, which has continued to rise since the advent of the smart phone. I will be interested to see what the number of tickets issued are during the month of April and whether this special initiative will actually decrease the number of distracted driving traffic accidents.

Everyone who has a smart phone knows how tempting it is to pick up your phone while in traffic to check an email or a text. Even a few seconds of looking into your phone can be incredibly dangerous. Along with the Illinois State Police, we encourage you to avoid that temptation and put your phone away while driving.

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.

Illinois Comptroller To Postpone Due Date For Traffic Fines

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza announced this week that her office will not be deducting past due traffic and parking fines and costs from the tax returns of the poor and moderately income residents. The office of the comptroller has the power to collect past due traffic and parking fees from residents’ tax returns. Her office announced the following: “The Illinois Office of Comptroller will not be deducting any fines or fees from the tax returns of Illinois’ working poor this year…Low- and moderate-income taxpayers in Illinois, who qualify for the state-earned income tax credit will receive their entire tax refund this year.”

It must be pointed out that the $15 million that is past due is not being forgiven. Payment will instead be due next year. The office also pointed out that the grace period could be extended if there is not a significant economic recovery due to the pandemic. This is no doubt a huge relief for many Chicagoans and residents around the state of Illinois who have been hit hard economically the covid-19 pandemic. Hopefully this will provide many with some financial breathing room.

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

Chicago Ranked 3rd Most Congested City In U.S.

According to a new traffic study by INRIX, a private company that that analyzes traffic data and trends, has ranked Chicago the 3rd most congested U.S. city behind New York and Philadelphia. This is somewhat surprising news to those of us that have witness such light traffic around the city since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic.

There’s more bad news.. The study found that the inbound Interstate 290/294 to Interstate 90/94 interchange in downtown Chicago is the number 1 ranked most congested corridor in the country. That should come as no surprise due to the history of this interchange and the construction in that are over the last few years.

Finally, Chicago was ranked the 7th most congested city in world.

This is troubling news, and locals have to wonder is whether there will be any improvement. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot previously made changes to the city budget to improve and increase bike lanes and improve the bus lanes travelling in and out of downtown. The purpose was to hopefully decrease the number of rideshare vehicles. Unfortunately, those changes have improved Chicago’s ranking as a traffic congested city. We can only hope those changes slowly improve.

The other change that I hope will improve congestion will the completion of construction at the I-90/94 and I-290 interchange. Construction has closed exit lanes and made the traffic much worse. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. I guess we will have to wait to see if that will bring improvements to the traffic congestion.

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