National Safety Council Provides Halloween Safety Tips

It is Halloween weekend, and cities and towns will be packed with traffic and trick or treaters over the next few days. Chicago is well known to enjoy the Halloween holiday. The Saturday night before halloween is a popular night for the bars and house parties. Sunday is the main trick or treating night but I’m certain there will be kids out and about Saturday as well.

Luckily the National Safety Council (“NSC”) published safety tips for parents and for drivers as we head into the busy weekend. They recommend the following:

  • Use flashlights, glow sticks, and reflective tape on costumes so you are visible in the dark.
  • Stay on sidewalks, cross at designated intersections, and stay in well-lit areas.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer should be carried and used frequently.
  • Candy collected during trick-or-treating should not be consumed until after handwashing. As always, a parent/guardian should check all candy to make sure it is wrapped and discard any unwrapped candy.
  • Wear a cloth mask instead of plastic, latex, or silicone. A costume mask, such as those worn for Halloween, is not a substitute for a face covering.

The one thing that I can add to this list is for people who will be out and about Saturday and night and they know they will be drinking. Please do not drive. Take a rideshare or the CTA to travel to and from your party or the bars. There will be more kids out and about than a normal Saturday. So if you are going out, call that Uber.

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.

Traffic Study Shows Chicago Driver Speeds Down But Car Crashes Remain Up

September meant back to school and also a lot of companies had their employees returning to the office as well following labor day. Despite persistence of the Delta variant and the pandemic that won’t go away, rush hour traffic is back in Chicago. According to a new study by Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (“CMAP”), rush hour traffic has progressively returned and thus driver travel times are slower.

According to CMAP, 111 people died in crashes between March and early September, compared with 92 people during the same months in 2020, The number of people seriously injured in car crashes was up by nearly 20% compared to 2020.

According to the National Safety Council, which studies traffic safety, these increases in traffic accidents is caused by multiple factors. First, they believe the drivers returning to the office. Some who would normally have taken a bus or train might now be choosing to drive, meaning they less are experienced driving their routes. They also believe drivers are having a hard time putting down their phones while in the car. This has been a problem for the last 10 plus years, but now that meetings are mainly taking place via Zoom and FaceTime, a lot of drivers think they can handle these while driving.

The Council believes one solution to these issues is implementing “traffic calming” measures onto city streets, which can help protect cyclists and pedestrians too, as biking and walking are growing in popularity throughout Chicago and the suburbs. That can include lower speed limits, pedestrian islands and crosswalks in roadways and bike lanes, which both provide space for cyclists and narrow streets to encourage lower speeds.

Please remember to buckle up and put your phone down while in the car. I believe your employer, co-workers and clients will understand if you have to wait until you arrive at your office.

As always, please contact The Bryant Law Group at 312-614-1076, should you need a free legal consultation.

Chicago Car Crashes Have Been More Severe During Covid-19 Shutdown

As many would suspect traffic is way down during the Covid-19 shutdown. There have been an estimated 70% less Chicago car accidents since the shelter in place order began in mid March. This comes as no surprise due to the lack of motorists on the road. Regardless, we have seen an increase in the severity of Chicago car crashes.

Northwestern’s study, found that after the stay-at-home order went into effect, the percentage of incapacitating or fatal crashes ticked up. “You had so much less traffic,” said NUTC Director Hani Mahmassani. “That was so unusual. You’re so used to driving very slowly on Chicago streets, so when you had that, people’s natural instinct was to speed up.”

Chicago and the state of Illinois are not alone with these numbers and “In some states, anywhere from 50% to 70% less miles (are driven), but the fatalities are up,” said NSC President and CEO Lorraine Martin. We really need to get to the root cause and understand what the behavior is that’s causing this kind of disturbing spike in very severe crashes.

Why the increase in traffic fatalities and severe injuries? Drivers feel at liberty to drive at excessive speeds as very few others are on the road. Local Chicago officials believe they have seen an uptick in speeders since the shutdown. The Chicago Department of Transportation warned of a 14% of increases speeders on city roadways. The Chicago Police Department and Illinois State Police said they’ve increased visibility and have some targeted patrol efforts. But Martin says road safety doesn’t just fall on law enforcement.

Even if there are less drivers on the road, it is important to stay vigilant and aware of others on the road. There are many who believe they can speed and drive recklessly when no one else is out there.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in 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.

April Is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Throughout the month of April, Police departments across the state of Illinois are cracking down on drivers who text while behind the wheel. April is the national distracted driving awareness month, and Illinois’ police departments are taking it seriously.

More than 100 police agencies across the state are planning to add new hands-free driving enforcement zones that will target drivers using their phones, according to the Naperville Police Department.

Despite laws on the books in every state, including Illinois, banning texting and driving, injuries continue to go up due to distracted driving car accidents. According to the National Highway Safety Council approximately 100 people are injured per day in traffic accidents caused by texting and driving. One reason these numbers continue to grow is due to the expansion of wi-fi capabilities on smart phones.

Extra police patrols and other costs related to the Distracted Driving Enforcement Campaign are covered by federal funds allocated to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

I think this push to crack down on distracted drivers is encouraging. My only issue is this should not be a one (1) month a year focus. Police departments should have their patrol officers trained to look for distracted drivers on a regular basis, just like they would monitor for drunk drivers.

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