Reckless Homicide Charges Brought In Edgewater Neighborhood Car Crash

The Chicago Tribune reported last week that the driver, who allegedly caused a fatal car accident in the Edgewater neighborhood, was charged with reckless homicide by States Attorney’s office. Prosecutors said the driver hadn’t been drinking, had a valid license and has no criminal background. Judge Donald Panarese Jr. ordered the Russian native’s passport seized.

The accident killed a 71 year old pedestrian and injured five (5) others when the defendant driver tried to pass a CTA bus on the right side through a parking lane. After striking two (2) pedestrians, his vehicle crashed into another which caused a chain reaction.

As I wrote yesterday regarding the Tony Stewart NASCAR accident, drivers who kill someone with their vehicles are typically charged with reckless homicide, which is often referred to as manslaughter. Since it is difficult to prove intent (i.e. that the driver purposely struck the pedestrians), reckless homicide carries a much lighter prison sentence than first or second degree murder. The defendant driver in this case will also be facing civil liability through a wrongful death lawsuit by the family or estate of the pedestrian who was killed at the scene. He will most likely also be sued for the personal injuries of the five (5) others who were injured.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago traffic accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney Aaron Bryant for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Illinois Tollway Study Shows Majority Of Drivers Do Not Obey Speed Limits

The Chicago Tribune reported this week that recent tollway studies in Illinois revealed that the majority of drivers do not drive within the marked speed limits on highways. Tollway engineers tracked speed limits for drivers along I-94 in Lake County and found that about 1 in 20 drivers obeyed the speed limit. 

The data, gathered in April, May and September, showed that, depending on which tollway stretch was tested, 91 to 98 percent of drivers exceeded the 55 mph speed limit. In those stretches, the average speed ranged from 66 to 70 mph.

The studies followed a 2012 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report that showed that average highway speeds increased to almost 71 mph in 2009 from 65 mph two years earlier. At the same time, traffic accident fatalities — 33,561 last year — are dropping, except for a slight increase in 2012. The report concluded that the higher speeds might have been the product of less speed enforcement in 2009 and fewer cars on the road that year, leading to less congestion.

Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said she was reluctant to draw conclusions from the Tollway data. Vehicles would have been more likely to slow down if their drivers had seen a state police squad car than engineers atop overpasses, she said.

This is an alarming trend and will need to be tracked closely as the speed limit on many Illinois highways will increase to 70 mph on January 1, 2014. Will drivers now feel more confident to drive even faster while on the highway? Will this lead to more car accidents and traffic fatalities? This is a concern that the Illinois Department of Transportation should follow closely along with Illinois lawmakers.

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

Study Shows War Veterans More Likely To Be Involved In Car Accidents

The Chicago
 reported last month about a study done by USAA insurance
company about the frequency of auto accidents by veterans of the wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan.  The study revealed that war veterans are involved in 13%
more car accidents than the rest of the driving population in the 6 months
months after returning home.

USAA found that
soldiers took the driving style that kept them alive on the streets of Baghdad
and Kabul and applied it to the suburban roads at home.  The results were
most dramatic for returning members of the Army and Marines, whose accident
rates rose 23 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively. (Rates were up 3 percent
for the Navy and 2 percent for the Air Force).

USAA found
“objects in the road” to be the most cited of the 13 accident causes
it studied.  The insurer also found a direct correlation between the
number of deployments and the rate of traffic accidents — those deployed three or more
times had 36 percent more incidents, those deployed twice had 27 percent more
and those deployed only once had 12 percent more car accidents. A 2009 military
study found that, since 2001, deployments for reservists had averaged from 8 to
14 months in duration.  There was also correlation by age (soldiers under
22 were involved in more car wrecks than those over 29) and by rank (the more
senior a soldier the lower the number of accidents).

USAA stated in their
study that they have shared their study with the government and traffic safety
groups. USAA’s study also stated that they are taking steps to make veterans
aware of the safety risks of driving after returning home from war. USAA did
not actually state what steps they are taking or how they making veterans more
aware of accident risks when they begin driving at home.  I would be
interested in learning what specific actions USAA are taking.

This is another
example of difficult adjustments soldiers must take when returning from war.

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 consultation
at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at

Graduated Licensing Requirement For Teens In Illinois Appears To Work

Everyone concerned with teen driving safety seem to be in agreement that Illinois’ graduated licensing requirement is a success. Enacted in 2008, the new legislation aims to get teens more supervised time on the road while limiting the number of passengers and distractions in their cars.

Statistics released by the Illinois Department of Transportation show the law has been quite effective in its first year. From January to October, 60 individuals between the ages of 16 to 19 died in teen related automobile accidents, according to IDOT. For a comparable time in 2007 — the year prior to the GDL’s enactment — automobile accidents claimed the lives of 127 teens.

Because of the limited number of fatal crashes seen by police departments here, local teen-driving statistics were unavailable.

In 2008, Illinois joined 31 states by implementing a graduated driver’s licensing program.

The new legislation — which sprung partially from Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s teen driving task force, which began meeting in 2006 — created two stages for young drivers: learner and intermediate.

Foremost among the new requirements was the tripling of the amount of time from three to six months a teen must spend with a learner’s permit.

Under the GDL, even intermediate teen drivers — those having passed their driver’s test — are not allowed to drive after 10 p.m. on weeknights or 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. And these newly-licensed drivers are not allowed to have more than one teenage passenger in their car during their first year on the road. The age of teens allowed to use cell phones was also raised from 18 to 19. 

To read the complete story about Illinois’ graduated licensing requirement, click here.

Should you or someone you know become involved in an car accident or truck accident, then call attorney Aaron J. Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.