Should Rideshare Companies Track Car Accident Statistics

I read an interesting article in the Red Eye this week, that investigated whether companies like Uber, Lyft and Taxi companies track the number of traffic accidents their drivers are involved in. You can read the article here.

The answer to the above question is no. Not only do rideshare and cab companies not track their driver’s car accidents, but neither does the state. All car accidents in Illinois that are reported to law enforcement must include an Illinois Traffic Crash Report. The investigating agency must fill out the report, which includes all of the driver information, whether medical treatment was required, whether traffic citations were issued and, most often, which driver was at fault for the traffic accident. The report also includes a box to check whether a driver was in a commercial vehicle (i.e. a tour bust or commercial van etc..) The report does not include a rideshare or taxi company classification. So, in theory, it is incredible difficult to to track the number of car accidents are caused by rideshare and taxi companies each year.

Should this change? Should the city of Chicago or the state alter the traffic crash reports to include a section regarding rideshares and taxi companies? I think the answer is yes. How do we know how safe these companies and their drivers are? I think it would be beneficial to start tracking these accident and classifying the type of drivers involved. This type of data would help local and state legislators determine if stricter driver qualifications are required for Uber and Lyft drivers. Should background checks and stricter driver testing be required? I don’t know the answer but we could learn a lot more if there were actual statistics taken on the number of car crashes occur every year.

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 J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Oprah Launches “No Phone Zone” Campaign

Even mega-stars like Oprah Winfrey are jumping into the effort to promote safe driving. Oprah’s website dedicated a section to distracted driving and is urging drivers to avoid texting while driving.

On the website, Oprah asks motorists to commit to not text or talk on their phones while driving. On Monday, the
talk show host plans to feature those who have lost loved ones in distracted-driving accidents on an episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

In a statement, Winfrey says she’s “passionate” about the issue and asks viewers to spread the message to their families, friends, co-workers and community.

Winfrey says she wants people to know “how absolutely stupid it is that we continue to text and drive.”

I don’t think there could be a bigger stamp of approval for the prevention of using cell phones while driving than from Oprah.  I think I might have to watch Monday’s program…. a show I don’t think I’ve watched probably since college.  I will definitely have a follow up entry regarding the show this week.

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

Toyota Announced Remedy For Floor Mat/Accelorator Problem

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced on November 25, 2009 that Toyota has identified a vehicle-based remedy to fix a sudden acceleration safety issue involving floor mats trapping accelerator pedals in various Toyota and Lexus models. Toyota announced the recall of these vehicles in early October and said it would soon develop a vehicle-based remedy to reduce the risk of a car crash due to accelerator pedal entrapment.

The models involved in the recall are: 2007 to 2010 MY Camry, 2005 to 2010 MY Avalon, 2004 to 2009 MY Prius, 2005-2010 MY Tacoma, 2007-2010 MY Tundra, 2007-2010 MY ES 350, 2006-2010 MY IS 250, and 2006 to 2010 MY IS 350.

NHTSA said Toyota plans to reconfigure the accelerator pedal, and in some cases the shape of the floor surface under the pedal, to address the risk of pedal entrapment due to floor mat interference, particularly with regard to inappropriate or improperly attached floor mats. At the same time, Toyota will develop replacement pedals for these vehicles, which will become available for some models in April 2010. Toyota will provide owners with the new pedal, when it becomes available, even if the vehicle has already received the modified pedal under the recall.

In addition, vehicles with any genuine Toyota or Lexus accessory all-weather floor mats will be provided with newly-designed replacement driver- and front-passenger side all-weather mats.

Unsecured floor mats can cause a huge impediment to drivers and it is good to see that Toyota has stepped up to he plate and fixed this problem.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an Illinois car accident or Illinois truck accident, then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation on your case at 312-588-3384.

LED Traffic Lights Could Be Causing Hazards

The New York Times recently published an interesting article about the hazards caused by LED traffic lights that have been installed in Illinois and other States. The use of LED (light-emitting-diodes) traffic lights have picked up recently due to their environmental impact. LEDs last longer, are more visible and require less maintenance than their predecessor.  Despite the environmental impact of these lights, there are concerns that they are creating a hazard and causing more accidents, especially during winter weather.  Specifically, they do not emit nearly as much heat as conventional bulbs, allowing snow and ice to accumulate more easily in certain conditions.

In Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and other states, special efforts are being made to ensure that the signals do not pose an undue threat to drivers.

“Do I think the car accident would have happened if the light was not covered in snow?” said Detective Rob Sherwood of the Oswego, Illinois Police Department, referring to a car accident in April. “I’d be willing to bet that it would not have happened if the driver that went through the light had an unobstructed view of the signal. It was the first indication in this community that the LED lights were not melting the snow.”

“We certainly do see car crashes and car accidents attributed to the fact that people can’t see the heads,” said Joanna Bush, a traffic signal systems engineer for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, referring to traffic signals’ colored lenses. “Due to the volume of snow we’ve been getting — good, wet heavy snow — it packs in.”

Transportation officials have been dispatching workers with brooms to clear the lenses, Ms. Bush said. They are also experimenting with a solution that is less labor-intensive and more permanent, outfitting some of the lenses with sloping snow shields to make it harder for snow to stick.

For most states, the benefits of LEDs are greater than the downside, officials said. LEDs contain no toxic elements and can last so long — for years — that disposal is not much of an issue.

It will be interested to see if there are advances in technology that will embrace the environmental benefits and also adapt to the hazardous issues that arise during winter weather. 

If you or someone you know has been involved in an Illinois car accident or Illinois truck accident, then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation on your case at 312-588-3384.


Lawsuit Filed Against Lockport Police Officer For Fatal DUI Accident

A Lockport police officer, who allegedly made a deadly mistake by drinking and driving, is now facing a wrongful death lawsuit.

The family of a Chicago man, who was killed Dec. 20 when an allegedly intoxicated off-duty Lockport police officer crashed into his car, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit, seeking more than $20 million.

Man Wong, 29, 2417 S. Wentworth Ave., died in the crash on the Stevenson Expressway near Central Avenue in which police officer Edward Stapinski was charged with reckless homicide and aggravated drunken driving.

Stapinski, 34, of Lockport, was southbound on the Stevenson about 9:30 p.m., when he lost control of his car, struck the concrete median barrier and went over the median into the northbound lanes, where it struck a car driven by Wong, according to state police.

Named as defendants in the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court, are Stapinski, WestEnd Bar and Grill in Chicago, where Stapinski allegedly was drinking before the crash, and the Four Corners Tavern Group, which operates the bar.

The lawsuit claims that Stapinski was “severely impaired” after drinking alcohol at the tavern and that his blood-alcohol level was recorded at a hospital at about three times the legal limit.

Depending on Officer Stapinski’s insurance policy, this may be a case where an underinsurance or uninsured claim is made.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an Illinois car accident or Illinois truck accident or have been charged with DUI, aggravated drunk driving or another traffic violation, then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.

Dorel Recalls 447,000 Infant Car Seats

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) released information that Dorel Corporation is recalling over 400,000 infant car seats.  The seats are labeled under the brand name Cosco, Eddie Bauer and Disney.

Dorel is recalling 447,000 seats because when used as an infant carrier, the bolts that attach the child restraint handle to the seat can loosen causing the handle to fully or partially separate from the seat creating a fall hazard.  Consumers should not use the handle until the repair kit has been installed.  The car seat is safe for use in a vehicle as it meets federal safety standards.

To receive a free repair kit, owners of the affected child restraint models should contact Dorel’s customer service department at 1-866-762-3316 or visit

The affected child restraint models, produced from January 6, 2008 through April 6, 2009, are listed below. The model number and the manufacture date are located on a label on the side of the car seat/carrier.

To view the press release, click here.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an Illinois car accident and Illinois truck accident, then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.

Metra Train Strikes Car In Morgan Park

A Rock Island Metra train struck a car in Morgan Park this morning. Luckily no one was hurt but this has to be cause for concern.

Rock Island District Metra train No. 406 struck a vehicle at 111th Street, possibly near South Hale Avenue, according to Metra spokesman Tom Miller.

The crash apparently occurred at a low speed, according to Lt. Tom McNicholas of the Morgan Park District Police, whose headquarters are located two blocks from the 111th Street Metra Station.

McNicholas speculated that a car stalled on the tracks may be to blame since trains are “normally flying by” at that area, but said that officials are still trying to uncover the circumstances behind the train crash.

No injuries were reported and train 406 is on the move but running about 45 minutes late, according to Miller.

To read the complete story, click here.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an Illinois car accident, Illinois truck accident, Metra accident or CTA accident, then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.

Family Mourns Victim Of Hit And Run Accident

Chicago has been plagued by several pedestrian related auto accidents the past few weeks. Chicago Breaking News reported recently that the family of Maria Worthon, who was struck and killed by a vehicle in her Rogers Park neighborhood last week, mourned at her funeral.

Maria Worthon, a nursing assistant, was remembered at a church across the street from where she was fatally struck by a car on Dec. 21 while walking with her son, Jerermiah, who also was hit.

The 6-year-old boy made it out of the hospital in time to attend his mother’s funeral. An uncle picked him up to get a last glimpse of his mother before the casket was closed.

“I got better, because I (saw) her,” the boy said at the service.

The driver in the hit-and-run was fleeing police at 70 to 80 mph and did not stop or slow down after striking Jeremiah and Worthon, who died at the scene in the 7000 block of North Greenview Avenue.

Ralph Eubanks, whom authorities said had traces of cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana in his blood, was ordered held without bail last week on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated DUI and leaving the scene of a fatal accident.

“This stinks,” Rev. Deborah Patton said during Worthon’s eulogy. “Maria’s death in particular was thoughtless, unnecessary and irresponsible.”

This is very sad news for Ms. Worthon’s friends and family. I think we can foresee a wrongful death lawsuit against Ralph Eubanks. This is a dangerous time of year to be on the roads for both drivers and pedestrians. Remember to be careful. There are a lot of crazy drivers out there.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an Illinois car accident or Illinois truck accident, then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.

Four CTA Employees Suspended After Derailment

A weekend train derailment has led to the suspension of four CTA employees. Chicago Breaking News reported the story after a Green Line train derailment over the weekend, transit officials said today, pointing to a missed “stop” signal as the probable cause of the accident.

The front wheels on the first car of the six-car northbound train jumped the tracks at the 59th Street junction shortly before noon Saturday, said CTA spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney.

The train remained upright on the “L” tracks. It was operating as a shuttle covering  part of the normal route, with one train operator in the first car and another in the sixth car, because of track construction, officials said.

“The investigation is still under way, but the preliminary indication is human error,” Gaffney said. “The equipment — signals, train and track — all appeared to be working properly.”

Investigators determined that the train operator disobeyed a “stop” signal and caused the derailment by driving the train over a track switch that was not aligned for the train to pass safely,  said CTA sources close to the investigation.

After the first car derailed, the train operator in the sixth car powered up the train and pulled it back in the other direction, apparently in  a bid to fix the problem, investigators said.

Click here to read the full story.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an Illinois car accident, Illinois truck accident or CTA accident then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.

2 Metra Employees Suspended After Door Incident

There is trouble again with doors with another Chicago area train. You may recall, I discussed an incident that took place on the CTA Red Line. This time a Metra train leaving the city had problems with one of its’ doors.

Metra has suspended two longtime crew members after a 4-year-old boy’s foot was caught in the closed door of a commuter train leaving a station.

The boy, D.J. Newton, was not hurt Saturday while exiting a train car, said his mother, Eileen Kermer, 31, of Worth, who described her terror as she desperately yanked her son’s foot from the door, leaving his boot inside.

“With all my might, I pulled him as hard as I could,” Kermer said Monday. “I didn’t care if he lost his leg at that point or anything. I had to get him out of there.”

The crew members have been removed from service with pay pending a formal disciplinary hearing, Metra spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet said.

“Our preliminary review of this situation would indicate the crew did not follow the rules,” Pardonnet said. “It appears there was something that went very wrong.”

Metra also sent out a bulletin Monday reminding crews of proper procedures. Crew members are required to make sure doorways are clear of passengers before closing them, Pardonnet said. This includes a “second check” by a crew member before the last doors close.

Pardonnet said Metra coach doors reopen if something gets lodged in them. But it appeared the boy’s foot was too small for the door to respond, she said.

To read the complete story at the Chicago Tribune, click here.

Luckily the little boy was not hurt but it is troubling that two (2) incidents have occurred within a few months. Hopefully the CTA and Metra can rectify these problems.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a CTA accident, Metra accident, Illinois car accident or Illinois truck accident, then call Attorney Aaron J. Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.