Illinois Legislator Wants To Increase Speed Limits

Illinois State Senator, Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, has introduced two (2) bills that would increase the speed limit on Illinois interstates and highways. Senate Bill 2565 would raise the speed limit to 75 mph on interstates outside urban areas. Senate Bill 2564 would increase the speed limit on highways outside urban areas to a maximum of 60 mph from 55 mph.

These bills have faced opposition from safety groups and insurance companies, including AAA.

The Institute for Highway Safety found there is an 8% increase in fatal traffic accidents for every 5 mph increase in the speed limit. And the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says speed is a factor in 39% of fatal crashes in Illinois. The national average is 28%. The American Automobile Association, or AAA is opposing the bill releasing the following statement to the media: “This would be a dangerous step in the wrong direction, putting Illinois’ recent gains in traffic safety into serious jeopardy.”

These bills were assigned to the Transportation Committee last month. The bills cannot be voted on until they pass through committee approval before being voted on by the Senate or House. I have not seen any news recently that these bills will voted on or that there is a push to have these measures passed.

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According to AAA, the 2019 Thanksgiving Holiday will be the busiest travel week of all time. AAA estimates more than 55 million travelers this year. 49.3 million Americans are expected to travel by automobile, which would be the most since 2005 and a 2.8% increase from last year.

With that in mind the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Illinois State Police have provided the following travel tips, including what to bring with you before you hit the road. This is incredibly important this year as parts of central and southern Illinois could be hit with a couple different winter storms.

Cell phone and charger
• First aid kit
• Water and high-calorie, non-perishable food
• Boots, hats, gloves and extra clothing to keep dry
• Blanket
• Crank radio and flashlight
• Sack of sand or cat litter
• Shovel
• Windshield scraper and brush
• Tool kit and tow rope
• Booster cables
• Compass and road maps

Be careful this week if you are traveling by car to see family and friends. You could be faced with nasty weather along with an abnormal number of vehicles on the road.

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

AAA Study: 13% Of Americans Do Not Think Driving High On Marijuana IS Dangerous

The American Automobile Association (“AAA”) released results of a study this week regarding the perceptions of marijuana use while driving. AAA surveyed 2,582 drivers and found more than 13% thought driving while high on marijuana was “only slightly dangerous” or “not dangerous at all” compared to driving while drunk, drowsy or impaired by prescription drugs. Among those surveyed, 70% said the odds of getting caught by police if you drive within an hour of consuming marijuana are low.

The study also revealed that nearly 15 million Americans admitted to driving within an hour of consuming marijuana, the AAA reported. Impairment from marijuana typically occurs quickly — within the first one to four hours of using the drug, AAA researchers said, adding that driving while stoned doubles the risk of a car crash.

This study comes on the heels of the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Illinois. Illinois Governor Pritzker signed the bill into law last week which will make marijuana legal in the state starting on January 1, 2020.

The question that many Illinois law enforcement agencies are now facing is how to deal with drivers who may be impaired while under the influence of marijuana. Unlike alcohol, there is no roadside breathalyzer that will detect marijuana use. Further, if the driver is detained and or arrested for erratic driving and then has their blood tested while in custody, there is no way to time stamp when the marijuana entered the driver’s system. Marijuana has been known to stay in a driver’s system for up to thirty (30) days, depending on frequency of use. Law enforcement will be tasked with this issue going forward and anticipate writing about this a lot in future once marijuana becomes legal and law enforcement agencies start announcing ways to deal with drivers who may be under the influence.

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

Hit And Run Accidents Reach Record High And What You Can Do To Protect Yourself

According to a AAA Insurance press release, hit and run car accidents have reached an all time high.  AAA’s research done by the Foundation for Traffic Safety, found that a hit-and-run crash occurs every minute on U.S. roads. These hit and run accidents resulted in 2,049 deaths in 2016. This is the highest number on record and a 60 percent increase since 2009.

The report found that most victims of fatal hit-and-run crashes are pedestrians or bicyclists. Over the past 10 years, nearly 20 percent of all pedestrian deaths were caused by hit-and-run car crashes, meanwhile just one percent of all driver fatalities in that same time period.

It is illegal in every state to leave the scene of an accident, regardless of who caused the traffic accident. The penalty for leaving the scene varies depending on the whether there was property or personal injury damage. It is considered a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois.

One thing I can recommend to Illinois drivers is make sure you have full auto coverage on your vehicles. This includes uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. What this means is that if you are struck by an uninsured vehicle or a vehicle that flees the scene and you are unable to collect their information, then your uninsured motorist coverage will kick in. This means that if you are injured in this type of accident, you can make a claim against your own insurance company for any injuries, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and loss of a normal life damages. All of this can and should be covered by your own insurance company. Based on the above hit and run numbers provided by AAA, I cannot stress how important it is to purchase uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage from your insurance carrier.

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

Memorial Day Weekend Is One Of The Busiest Traffic Weekends Of The Year

Next to Thanksgiving, Memorial Day is one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. According to AAA auto club close to 42 million Americans plan to take travel over Memorial Day weekend. This is a five (5) percent increase from last year.

In Illinois 2.04 million people plan to travel, which is an increase of four percent from 2017. Unfortunately, we will also see some of the highest gas prices in several years. It is estimated that the Illinois average for a gallon of gas is $2.95 is up from $2.70 last month, and $2.39 last year.

Based on past numbers, AAA expects to help approximately 340,000 motorists over the weekend.

This Friday, May 25, between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm is supposed to be the busiest travel period over the weekend.

A few tips to ensure you have a safe road trip:

  1. Check your battery before heading out on an extended road trip.
  2. Check alternate routes and times for leaving so as to avoid the heaviest traffic
  3. Buckle up. Not only for safety purposes, but also, state troopers will be out in full force ticketing speeders and those no wearing their seat belts.
  4. Put the phone aside. For everyone’s safety, put your phone aside and stick with the hands free technology. This is always the safest way, but especially true when there are so many people out on the road.

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

Studies Show Summer Is Most Dangerous Time Of Year For Drivers

The Chicago Tribune published an interesting article last month about what we should expect this summer for on the highways in Illinois. Basically, the authors pointed out that that due to the increased number of expected travelers this summer, we should expect more car accidents and traffic fatalities than we saw in 2014. Going into Memorial Day weekend, Illinois already had 15 more traffic fatalities than the same time last year.

While vehicle fatalities have increased 5 percent in Illinois so far this year, motor vehicle deaths nationally increased 11 percent — to 8,250 fatalities — in the first three months of 2015, compared with the same period in 2014, according to an analysis by the National Safety Council, based on preliminary figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The traffic safety administration’s official count includes only traffic deaths that occur within 30 days of accidents, whereas the safety council counts deaths that occur within a year of accidents.

Injuries resulting from car crashes in which medical care was received hit almost 1 million from January through March of this year in the U.S., a 26 percent increase from the same period in 2014, the safety council said.

The increase in crash-related deaths correlates to more vehicles on the roads, more total miles traveled and lower fuel prices, officials said.

The leading causes of traffic accidents continue to be intoxication and the use of cell phones. Despite most states, including Illinois, which have outlawed the use of cell phones while driver, not state has banned hands free usage.The National Traffic Safety Board (“NTSB”) and subsequently the the National Safety Council  have called for a ban on hands-free cellphone use of any kind, but no states have enacted laws completely prohibiting the use of mobile devices while driving. Illinois law permits the use of hands-free devices, except in construction zones.

If you are going to be travelling on the road this summer, be sure to buckle up and put away your cell phone.

If you or someone you love has been seriously 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

Is Siri Just As Dangerous As Texting And Driving?

A new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety calls into question the safety of hands-free technology used by drivers. According to a news release posted by AAA last month, dangerous mental distractions exist even when drivers keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.

The study revealed the following findings regarding the distractions drivers create for themselves while behind the wheel:

  • Tasks such as listening to the radio ranked as a category “1” level of distraction or a minimal risk.
  • Talking on a cell-phone, both handheld and hands-free, resulted in a “2” or a moderate risk.
  • Listening and responding to in-vehicle, voice-activated email features increased mental workload and distraction levels of the drivers to a “3” rating or one of extensive risk.

“These findings reinforce previous research that hands-free is not risk-free,” said AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger. “Increased mental workload and cognitive distractions can lead to a type of tunnel vision or inattention blindness where motorists don’t see potential hazards right in front of them.”

AAA is the front runner on this type of research and stated in their press release that legislative action should be considered, much like the ban on texting and driving. They suggest that voice automated technology should be limited to core related driving functions such as climate control and windshield wipers. They also suggest that there should be a ban on voice to text technology related to social media, text messages and emails.

If this research is accurate (which I believe it is), then AAA is at the forefront here and their suggestions should be listened to. To me it makes sense that voice to text functions such as emails, texts and tweets are a distraction and dangerous because drivers often times look down at their phone to check and make sure their texts or emails are accurate.

It will be interesting to see if any states or the federal government takes any action to limit voice to text technology. It could save lives.

If you or someone you love 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.

AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety Releases Troubling Report

AAA’s Foundation for
Traffic Safety released the results of a four year study revealing that
Americans have become less concerned about the dangers of certain driving
tactics. This is troubling for several reasons. First, as I have written on
this blog multiple times, texting and emailing while driving has become an
epidemic in this country and is considered as dangerous as drinking and
driving. The same can be said about driving without enough sleep. Legislatures
(including Illinois) have stepped up to the plate and enacted laws banning
distracted driving and have increased penalties. Further, the major cell phone
companies have joined together with campaigns such as “It Can Wait,”
to try and curb texting and driving. This is what is so troubling: why – –
despite new laws and publicity – – are drivers in this country becoming less
concerned about these issues?

Survey
results during the previous four years show decreasing concern for dangerous
driving behaviors:

-The
number of people who believe drinking and driving is a serious threat declined
from a near universal 90 percent in 2009 to 69 percent in 2012.

-The
number of people who consider drowsy driving a very serious threat declined
from 71 percent in 2009 to 46 percent in 2012.

-The
number of people who believe that texting or emailing while driving is a very
serious threat declined from 87 percent in 2009 to 81 percent in 2012. The
number of people who admit to texting while driving increased from  21 percent to 26 percent during the same
period.

-The
number of people who consider red-light running to be completely unacceptable
declined from 77 percent in 2009 to 70 percent in 20012.

“We have
made great strides in recent years to reduce road deaths, but there are still
too many needless fatalities caused by dangerous driving,” said Jake Nelson,
AAA director of traffic safety advocacy and research. “It is clear that more
must be done to address the dangers of drunk, aggressive and drowsy driving to
stem this concerning trend.”

What
are we to make of this study? How much more can legislatures do to prevent this
type of behavior? Suspend licenses? That may seem a little drastic but what if
the number of distracted traffic accidents do not decrease after the new laws
go into effect after January 1. These are issues both the Illinois legislature
and cell phone companies will have to look at.

If
you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney Aaron Bryant for a
free consultation at 312-588-3384. 

AAA Opposes Illinois Speed Limit Increase

According to The
Wall Street Journal, 
AAA is adamantly opposed to the Illinois Senate
Bill 2356, which proposes to increase the interstate speed limit 70 miles per
hour. 

“The Illinois legislature should not
ignore the enormous speeding problem Illinois already has on its
roadways,” said Brad Roeber, president of AAA Chicago. “Speeding
accounts for more than half of Illinois’ over 900 roadway fatalities, and this
problem cannot be fixed by letting cars and trucks travel faster.”

The data on speeding are clear. From
2008-2011, Illinois’ roadway fatalities dropped 12 percent; but those
fatalities due to speeding rose nearly 14 percent. Furthermore, in 2010 and
2011, Illinois speed limits for large trucks were raised to 65 mph. Over this
time, there has been a 39 percent increase in fatalities involving large
trucks.

“Make no mistake, this bill allows large
trucks to travel even faster on our roadways. The majority of large-truck
fatalities involve motorists, who unfortunately don’t stand a chance against an
80,000 pound vehicle traveling at high speeds,” said Roeber.  In
2011, AAA noted in their Crashes vs. Congestion study that a conservative
estimate of the cost to society for each fatal car crash was $6 million. 

I wrote about this issue last week after the
bill passed through the Senate. My issue with the Bill was whether there were
any studies available regarding the dangers on the roadways based on a higher
speed limit. No surprise, AAA has researched this issue, and they are convinced
there will be me traffic accidents and traffic fatalities if drivers
(specifically truck drivers) are allowed to drive faster on highways. I would
like to see an independent study on this issue before I conclude whether this
Bill should be enacted into law.

If you or someone you love has been seriously
injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney Aaron Bryant for a free legal consultation at
312-588-3384. 

AAA Promoting “Heads Up Driving Week”

We need to solute AAA and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety,  for their promotion of “Heads Up Driving Week.”  This is the 3rd straight year that AAA has asked drivers to away distractions and focus only on the road.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety posted these startling statistics about the dangers of texting and driving:

  • More than one million people have died in car crashes over the past 25 years in the U.S., with 33,788 lives lost in 2010 alone.
  • Drivers spend more than half their time behind the wheel engaged in distracted behavior.
  • Using a cell phone while driving quadruples your risk of crashing.
  • Eating, smoking, adjusting music or rubbernecking while driving can be just as dangerous as texting, emailing or talking on a cell phone.
  • Passengers are one of the most frequently reported causes of distraction, with young children being four times more
  • AAA also stated on their website that the majority of the public is concerned about texting and driving: ”  themajority of drivers – 94% – agree that texting or emailing while driving is unacceptable and 87% support laws against reading, typing or sending text messages or emails while driving…”

    The question that remains is why the public continues to text and drive despite their strong sentiments against it?  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I think it goes back to the driving public’s willingness to adapt to new driving laws. There have been multiple reports that it took the public years to adapt to the seat belt laws that were enacted 50 years ago. Maybe it is taking the public time to adapt to a culture where it is socially unacceptable to text and drive.  Maybe it will take stiffer penalties for the public to begin changing their behavior.

    If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free consultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com.