Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Release 2021 Report

Traffic safety advocacy group, Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety, released their 2021 report called the “Road Map.” The report analyzes traffic safety and traffic safety laws in all 50 states.

There were less people on the road in 2020 but according to the report, that did not lead to safer streets and highways. “Moreover, preliminary 2020 estimates show that while overall miles traveled are down, the fatality rate has jumped dramatically,” said Cathy Chase, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

The group gave Illinois a grade of yellow, which means safety improvements are needed. Below is a list of recommendations the group provided to the state:

  • All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law
  • Booster Seat Law
  • GDL – Minimum Age 16 for Learner’s Permit
  • GDL – Stronger Nighttime Restriction Provision
  • GDL- Stronger Passenger Restriction Provision
  • GDL- Age 18 for Unrestricted License

Below is a list of laws the group believes Illinois is doing correctly:

  • Primary Enforcement Seat Belt Law (Front & Rear)
  • GDL – 6-Month Holding Period Provision
  • GDL – 50 Hours of Supervised Driving Provision
  • GDL – Cell Phone Restriction
  • IID for All Offenders
  • Child Endangerment Law
  • Open Container Law
  • All-Driver Text Messaging Restriction
  • Rear Facing Through Age 2 Law

One suggestion they did not provide was for stricter texting and driving laws and penalties. As I discussed on this site last week, the Illinois legislature has done their part of strengthening traffic penalties for caught texting and driving during an accident. I will be watching the state legislature closely over the next year to see if they implement any of the suggestions made by Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety.

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

New Illinois Traffic Laws For 2020 and 2021

The Illinois legislature passed and the governor signed into law two (2) important new traffic laws in 2020 that went into effect in 2020. I will also discuss a local Chicago ordinance that went into effect in the new year.

First, as I have been writing about on this blog for years, the Illinois legislature finally stiffened the texting and driving penalties when the accident causes serious injury to another party. Beginning on July 1, 2020 the Illinois secretary of state was enabled to revoke driving privileges for one year when a driver causes “great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement” due to use of an electronic communication device. The offense is also subject to a minimum $1,000 fine. Electronic communication devices include hand-held wireless telephone, hand-held personal digital assistant, or portable or mobile computer. It does not include a GPS or a device that is electronically integrated into the vehicle. 

Second, stronger penalties were enacted for drivers who injured a pedestrian while walking in a cross-walk. This new law establishes a 12-month license suspension for a motorist who, while violating the right-of-way at crosswalks and in school zones, causes serious injury to another person. This law also went into effect on July 1, 2020.

Finally, as I discussed a few months back, part of the city of Chicago’s 2021 budget included increased fines for drivers caught on speeder cameras driving 6 to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit. The plan states those driving six miles per hour over posted speed limits would get a warning. If a driver is caught twice, they would then receive a $35 ticket in the mail.   This new ordinance took effect in 2021.

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

Illinois Traffic Accidents and Congestion Increasing Despite Covid-19 Shutdown

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected almost every industry, the public sector and pretty much all aspects of our lives. When the pandemic started and the shelter in place order was announced by Governor JB Pritzker, traffic congestion and car accidents decreased dramatically.

The state slowly began opening back up again and traffic levels have increased in Chicago and throughout the state. They are still not and pre-pandemic levels, but as you drive around the city you are seeing much more congestion and the numbers back it up, which has been the reason for more car accidents, according to a car accident doctor.

Despit the record low levels of traffic from March through May, the Illinois Department of Transportation (“IDOT”) has reported 786 fatalities in vehicle crashes, a 16-person increase from 770 on Oct. 11, 2019.

This is an unusual trend that IDOT spokeswoman, Maria Castaneda, tried to explain recently: “While we can’t speculate and don’t know all the reasons why the overall numbers are aligning from last year with fewer cars on the roads, anecdotally we have noticed an increase in higher speeds,” C

Illinois State Police Sgt. Christopher Wilson added, “it is extremely difficult to make assumptions as to traffic trends, and even more difficult in these unprecedented times as we have no frame of reference to compare.”

So we are seeing more traffic on the road but not nearly as much as last year, yet Illinois traffic fatalities are at a higher rate than a year ago. According to a car accident lawyer, motorists are driving faster than normal, and are thus putting themselves in a much more dangerous situations. I would like to see more analysis than what IDOT has provided so we can understand why accidents, including deaths, have not gone down despite less traffic on the road. Do these accidents involve distracted drivers or texting and driving? If your car was severely damaged, are you in need of panel beaters? Was weather a factor? Driving too fast. Hopefully IDOT will provide us with a better understanding by the end of the year.

If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076 or contact us through our website at www.blgchicago.com.

IDOT Releases April Traffic Numbers

Anyone who looks out their windows or gets in their cars and drives around Chicago’s expressways can see that motorist traffic is a fraction of what it was two (2) months ago. The Illinois Department of Transportation (“IDOT”) confirmed what we see everyday as they released April traffic numbers. No surprise, they are way down.

According to IDOT traffic on Chicago area expressways was down anywhere from 29 to 45 percent this April compared with April 2019. IDOT said that on the Kennedy Expressway, the number of work week inbound vehicles dropped from 1.1 million vehicles to 626,000, a 45 percent drop. Statewide traffic is estimated to be down about 37 percent. Illinois Toll Highway Authority said April saw a reduction fo 55 percent in traffic volume, resulting in $52 million less in tolls than expected

For essential workers or those who choose to go into their offices are obviously seeing much faster commute times. According to IDOT the outbound evening rush hour are an average of 21 to 24 minutes faster. 

IDOT to not release any information regarding Illinois traffic accidents for April.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron J. Bryant for a free legal consultation. If you’re looking for a great charter bus transportation for long trips, try Harmon Bros Trailways Services.

Chicago Department of Transportation Launched New Traffic App: ChiStreetWorks

Those who live in Chicago know how bad traffic is in this city. It can be incredibly stressful, especially during summer months as there seem to be an abnormally high number of people on the road. The cities’ Department of Transportation (“CDOT”) has launched a new web based application call ChiStreetWorks with the purpose of helping drivers plan their trips in order to avoid major traffic jams.

The new App allows you to see past, current and future projects, as well as view permits for water, sewer, gas or electrical projects impacting City streets. The website went live to the public on Tuesday.

The map also provides users with features such as bus routes and stops, parking impacts, bike lanes, viaduct heights, speed and red light camera locations, and current traffic conditions. It also allows you to view where special events are taking place. 

Users can browse specific areas of the city by searching by neighborhood, ward, ZIP code, street intersection, or address and then select which categories of data they want to see: construction projects, utility-related permits, resurfacing memorandums, events impacting traffic, street closures, and detours. There’s also a tool to filter results by time to show activity from the past month or up to one year in the future.

This is a great initiative by the city, which provides much more detail than a typical Google or Apple Maps. We will see if it helps free up traffic and hopefully decrease the number of traffic accidents in the area.

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

Chicago Mayor’s Office Initiates Mobility Task Force

Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to oversee a mobility task force for the city of Chicago. The purpose of the task force was to create a vision for the ever changing transportation systems including: roads; trains; buses; electric scooters; ride sharing; and bicycles. More specifically, the mayor’s office asked the task force to look at the following aspects of transportation:

  • Establishing clear mobility goals and effective governance that serve as a framework for planning for, evaluating and managing current and future mobility options and identifying the appropriate City leadership to ensure future decisions align with such goals.
  • Proposing changes to technology, policy, and public way use management to support the City’s mobility goals, including regulatory incentives, transit improvements, curbside use policies and data-sharing requirements/infrastructure.
  • Reviewing the areas of autonomous, connected and electric vehicles; enhancing CTA and other City transportation assets; promoting low and no carbon mobility choices; and finding sufficient and sustainable funding sources.

Secretary LaHood’s task force has recommended that the city hire a “mobility chief,” who would oversee all aspects of improving transportation and how to pay for it. I think this makes sense as the type of overhauls this task force is recommending would need some sort of CEO type to oversee the implementation of these new infrastructures and programs.

I am all for improving the city’s transportation infrastructure. This includes reducing traffic, reducing the carbon imprint, reducing costs etc.. But to be honest, this entire task force seems to be more of a question mark than answer. The media reports state that the task force’s report recommend “50 specific actions, policy changes or studies.” I have not seen a press release showing us what these “specific actions” include. There have merely been snippets, such as hiring mobility chief, adding toll roads and possibly a gas tax and new mobility services and technology, with “smart lanes” dedicated to bicycles, van pools and other shared rides.

This is all great, but there has been no explanation on how to achieve these “50 specific” actions. I will be anxiously awaiting more information from the mayor’s office on how to achieve these goals, and whether the new mayor (Lightfood or Preckwinkle) will carry the torch and follow through on what the task force has recommended.

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.

Study Says Chicago 3rd Worst In Traffic Congestion

INRIX, a global transportation analytics company released a new study this week regarding traffic congestion in the U.S. and globally. The study revealed, to no ones surprise, that Chicago ranked as the 3rd most congested city in the U.S. The study stated that Chicago drivers wasted 138 hours sitting in traffic last year, and the traffic back-ups cost $1,920 per driver in 2018.

One reason experts have noted for the surge in traffic congestion in Chicago is due to the robust downtown economy. Several companies have opened new offices downtown and in the West Loop, including McDonalds and Google.

The thing that puzzles me about this ranking and about the traffic in general in Chicago is that there are so many alternate options for a work commute. Chicago has some of the most efficient train and bus lines with the CTA, and the number of bicycle commuters continues to grow, especially the number of dedicated bike lanes throughout the city. Also, Metra provides train rides for tens of thousands of commuters into the city every day. One factor that I didn’t see mentioned in any of the articles written about this study is the amount of road construction that has been going on. I-290 has been under construction the last several years. Hopefully when that is completed, it will free up a lot of the congestion from all directions coming into downtown.

If you or someone you loved 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

New Illinois Left Lane Traffic Law Now In Effect

I wrote a few weeks back about the new Illinois traffic laws for 2019. I did not mention a new statute that was enacted back in 2017, but went into effect this year. The new law, 625 ILCS 5/11-701, requires drivers to stay within the right lane in two (2) lane highways.

There are several exceptions, which include when passing other vehicles or moving over for an emergency vehicle. The Illinois State Police, who pushed for this new law, stated that the purpose of the provision is to keep traffic flowing and increase safety.
You’re not supposed to travel in the left lane and stay there,” said Lieutenant Matt Boerwinkle, spokesperson for Illinois State Police. “The main focus is to ensure that motorists have a means to get around traffic that should stay in the right lane.” The state police posted the hashtag
#LeftLaneLollygaggersBeware to their Facebook page.

Violators of this new traffic law will be hit with a $120.00 fine.

Should you or a loved become 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.

New Illinois Traffic Laws For 2019

It’s a new year, and I am happy to report there are several new traffic laws that were enacted by the Illinois legislature and will take affect this year. Most important, I am excited to write that the Illinois legislature has finally taken the initiative to stiffen texting and driving laws. Also, steps were taken to protect you children and bicyclists. Below are the new laws:

  1. Beginning July 1, 2019, anyone caught texting while driving will be issued a moving violation, which will go on their driving record. The $75 fine will still apply to a first offense. Previously, texting and driving tickets were not a moving violation and did not affect a drivers’ record.
  2. Beginning January 1, 2019 children under two (2) must ride in a rear-facing car seat. Penalties will be up to the discretion of local authorities, but Illinois State Police say a first offense could earn a $75 fine and up to $200 for a second offense. Children who are taller than 40 inches or weigh more than 50 pounds are exempt.
  3. And the “Dutch Reach” method is being added to the Illinois’ Rules of the Road manual, and bicycle safety questions will be asked during the state driver’s license test. The “Dutch Reach” method has drivers and passengers reach across their bodies to open the door after parallel parking. The method is meant to remind people to look back for cyclists before opening their doors in order to prevent “dooring” crash.

This is positive news for all Illinois residents. As I have written over and over through the years, the only thing that will help reduce texting and driving is stiffer penalties. A moving violation may not be far enough, but at least it has some teeth to it. A moving violation adds points to an Illinois drivers’ record, and three (3) within the same calendar year, can cause a drivers’ license to be suspended.

Also, I have been a proponent for bicyclist safety through the years, and the addition of bicycle laws into to the Illinois drivers manual is a huge step forward.

If you or someone you love has has been seriously injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago bicycle accident, please call Illinois personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Illinois Department of Transportation Planning Distracted Driving Summit

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced last week that they are going to hold a safety summit on October 30 in Sangamon County. The summit which will focus on distracted driving. This announcement came one week after Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner announced that August 17 was Traffic Fatality Awareness Day.

Some of the current work championed by IDOT includes displaying crashed cars at rest areas as a physical reminder of the importance of responsible driving, dynamic messages signs across the state that display topical messages to capture public attention, and continued development of new ways to improve safety in work zones.

IDOT has previously focused on the seriousness of distracted driving. Earlier this year they launched a multi-media campaign called “Life or Death Illinois.” The campaign focuses the importance of safe driving and appealing to audiences to stop and consider the seriousness of the issues on the state’s roads. This was the first time IDOT expanded its key safety messages beyond the ongoing problems of impaired driving and unbuckled motorists to include new materials aimed at reducing fatalities and injuries tied to motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, work zones and distracted driving.

I will be interested to find out more information about this traffic safety summit. I’m interested to find out if they will be focusing any time on bicyclist safety. The number of bicycle commuters (especially in Chicago) continues to grow and emphasizing safety for everyone on the road should be an priority.  I will also want to know if they will discussing stiffer penalties for those caught and ticketed for driving while using their phones.

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